Saturday, April 19, 2008

More than raging hormones

U.S. stock market indicators were up yesterday and I know why. I read yesterday's WSJ which included Robert Lee Hotz's Science Journal that noted the latest in behavioral economics.
Testosterone May Fuel Stock-Market Success, Or Make
Traders Tipsy

Every morning for a week, 17 harried securities traders at
a London brokerage firm began their business day by spitting for science. After
analyzing their saliva samples, researchers at Cambridge University concluded
that they were watching a stock market on steroids.

The tests revealed a curious fact about the biochemistry
of profit and loss: The higher a trader's morning level of testosterone, the
more likely that trader would have a profitable day -- up to a

Expanding the ambit of economic research is a wonderful thing. And no one can tell where behavioral economics will lead us. But it should not distract us from two central truths. Most of us are much better off than our ancestors (they would swap their nasty, brutish and short lives for our "unhappiness" in a heartbeat) and we can explain this amazing occurrence to be a result of human action. We are living the rewards of the positive evolution of favorable institutions. Purposeful action dominated raging hormones.