Male Testosterone Can Be Bad for the Economy


Here’s yet another reason to advocate for more gender equality on Wall Street: male investors may be subject to market-shifting hormonal surges. 

An international team of economists and neuroscientists write in Nature that the hormones cortisol and testosterone can affect men’s optimism and preferences for risky investments, and might play a role in destabilizing financial markets.

A total of 142 men and women between 18 and 30 years old played an asset-trading computer game simulating stock market exchanges. Their saliva was tested for hormonal levels at the beginning of the session, after they made a trade, and at the end of the session. In follow-up trials, 30 young men received either a tablet of hydrocortisone or a placebo before they began a stock investment task, and 36 young men received either a dose of testosterone or a placebo. The tasks all involved real money as prizes. 

Higher levels of naturally-occurring cortisol—which plays a role in the human stress response—at the beginning of the first task was associated with significantly more trading activity for men, but not for women. Cortisol was also associated with price instability in markets between male traders or groups of male-female traders, but not in female-only trading groups. In the trials with administered cortisol and testosterone, both hormones increased men’s investment in higher risk stocks. 

The researchers found that cortisol increased subjects' willingness to take risks:

When professional traders undergo situations of high stress and elevated cortisol, such as before and after the release of important economic indicators, raised cortisol might therefore encourage riskier trading,” they write. “If riskier trading in turn destabilizes prices further, cortisol may exacerbate the stock market’s reaction to new information.”

Testosterone, on the other hand, made them more optimistic about whether stock prices would increase. The hormone "may help to sustain the upward momentum of a bull market, in which high profits fuel optimism about future price increases and lead to further risk taking," according to the researchers. "Depending on the situation, this feedback mechanism could be maladaptive and encourage traders to 'ride' a stock market bubble for too long."

While this study examined men’s behavior in the lab, which might not translate exactly to real-life trading preferences, several previous studies have linked testosterone to financial risk-taking and profits, and a 2008 study of actual traders in London similarly linked testosterone and cortisol to changes in investment behavior. 

[h/t: Pacific Standard]

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Here Are the Colleges In Each State With the Best Job Placement Rates

In a tough economic climate, kids trying to figure out where to go to college might be more concerned with their future job prospects than the on-campus party scene. This graphic from the career search site Zippia, spotted by Thrillist, provides a surprising look at the universities that boast the highest post-graduation job placement rates in each state.

Zippia looked at job placement ratings from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), a collection of surveys from the National Center for Education Statistics that any college or university that gets federal funding has to complete. (That includes private universities.) The company ranked universities based on their job placement ratings for students 10 years after graduation.

Here's what the results look like across all 50 states:

A yellow map of the U.S. labeled with the college that boasts the highest job placement rate in each state

Some of the institutions on the list may be colleges you’ve never heard of. While prestigious universities like Vanderbilt University in Tennessee might be familiar, other entries are more obscure. The highest job placement rate for a college in Massachusetts isn’t from Harvard—it’s Endicott College, a school near Salem with about 2500 undergraduates.

These are the 10 colleges with the highest job placement rates across all 50 states, according to Zippia’s analysis. Each school has a job placement rate of more than 95 percent 10 years after graduation.

1. Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania
2. Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island
3. Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio
4. Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon
5. Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York
6. University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, North Dakota
7. University of Wisconsin – Platteville in Platteville, Wisconsin
8. Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts
9. Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska
10. Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut

That said, it's not entirely clear what kind of employment is covered by this data. It's possible that some of the graduates included aren't working in their desired field 10 years on or are otherwise underemployed but still working full time. The jobs these graduates have may have nothing to do with their major or what they studied in school. And since Zippia looked at data from people who graduated 10 years ago, that means the company likely looked at 2008 graduates, who left college at the height of the recession and may not have had a lot of great job options, potentially skewing the data toward very specialized schools, like Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (the top choice in both Arizona and Florida).

The full list is below.

A list of the top colleges for job placement in each state

[h/t Thrillist]

This State Was Just Ranked the Best in the U.S.

Every year, U.S. News and World Report assembles its list of the Best States across a variety of metrics. Categories like health care, education, economy, and quality of life are measured statistically—education, for example, looks at the graduation rate in high schools, while the unemployment rate correlates with job opportunities—and assessed against areas where states may be lacking, like disparities in income between genders or unfavorable crime statistics.

After considerable crunching of numbers, the U.S. News data analysis has crowned a new "best" state: Iowa.

The Hawkeye state finished in the top 10 or top five in key areas like health care, job opportunities, and overall infrastructure. Farming, a longtime identifying trait, has taken second place to manufacturing plants. And while plenty of Iowa is rural, its technological innovations are advanced: the state actually leads the nation in building high-speed internet access into the fabric of its communities.

There are other factors that paved the way for Iowa's placement—affordable housing, for example, where it ranks second overall in the country, and health care affordability. U.S. News points to a sluggish population growth for younger residents and less-hospitable resources for entrepreneurs as drawbacks.

In the full list, Minnesota grabbed the second-place spot; New York, the 25th. Louisiana appears at the bottom. 

[h/t U.S. News]


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