BROWSING the pages of the January issue of Wired magazine, The Capitalist stumbled across a pen–chewing piece of research by stockmarket trader turned neuroscientist, John Coates.
In the article, Cambridge-educated Coates asserts that testosterone skews financial markets, and poses the question – should more decisions be left to women?
The former Goldman Sachs trader began working on Wall Street in 1989: “I would see people get on a winning streak on the trading floor and go lunatic”.
He left in 2002 to test his hypothesis that financial instabilities are driven by hormones, claiming that: “Women knew there was a bubble and were acting sane; men were out of control”.
His first test subjects were 17 traders from a mid–size firm in the Square Mile, who were required twice daily to register their profit and loss statements, and give saliva samples. He concluded that, in financial markets, men are more hormonal than women.
Coates makes an unusual analogy about his time as a trader: “During a crisis, managers behaved like a stressed-out troop of primates”.
The Capitalist hopes this does not mean biting the junior monkeys, or else we really are in trouble.