Why Men Make More Money

It\’s not actually as if this is a surprise, of course:

Money doesn\’t make the world go round: it\’s testosterone. The more that traders have, the richer they\’ll become – up to a point.

John Coates, who used to manage a trading floor at Deutsche Bank on Wall Street but is now at the Judge Business School at Cambridge University, and Professor Joe Herbert, a neuroscientist, set out to study the brains of City traders to discover what makes them tick.

They measured levels of testosterone and cortisol (a stress hormone) in 17 traders at a City of London bank for eight consecutive business days. They found that those traders with higher testosterone levels in the morning were most likely to make money on the day\’s trading. One trader hit a six-day "winning streak" during which he made more than double his daily profit. During that time his testosterone levels went up 74%.

This free market/capitalism thing, it does indeed reward judicious risk taking. And yes indeed, testosterone is what makes men more likely to take risks (judicious or not). Thus we have an economic system which rewards part of the male set up.

It is also, of course, possible to create an economic system which does not reward such risk taking, and thus does not privilege males simply for their hormonal make up. But is the absence of advance (which is the corollary of the absence of risk taking) worth the greater gender equality?


7 thoughts on “Why Men Make More Money”

  1. Although I understand (via the Today programme, so quite possibly wrongly) that the authors use this result to argue for more women and older men on trading floors, on the basis that this will lead to better longer term stability.

  2. “During that time his testosterone levels went up 74%.”

    Cause or effect Tim? Success generating “arousal”, that kind of thing?

  3. What Sam said above.

    Apparently, since testosterone allows male traders to make greater profits for their employers, the solution to the resulting market instability is that trading firms should hire more women and older men, thereby reducing the profits made and impoverishing themselves. Right.

  4. Umm forgive me for being fucking stupid RobtE and Sam but city businesses don’t give a flying fuck about anything except profit.

    If testosterone increaes their profit then they are likely to add it to the canteen coffee, not employ people with less of it!

  5. Zorro –

    Excuse me, but what the hell are you on about? Sam was explaining the view of the report’s authors, as discussed on the Today programme this morning.

    I agreed with his explanation, having heard the same report. And my response to that was sarcastic.

    Perhaps you should read the two comments again.

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