Weiner, Wall Street, and Women

Sex scandals and female politicians appear to be nonexistent in the news.  With politicians like Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Ensign, Mark Sanford, and many more, scandals don’t follow party lines.  Politicians either find religion, treatment, or a reality TV show to find “forgiveness” in order to appease constituents, political parties, or family.  Sometimes their wife (with a deer in a headlights look) is standing by their side as they confess their sexual transgressions to an adoring media circus.

Would an equal amount of women in politics and boardrooms ease the scandals?

Yes, and one study written by John Coates Ph.D, a research fellow at Cambridge University in Neuroscience proves this point.  His 2010 paper and study titled From molecule to market: steroid hormones and financial risk-taking discovers some interesting facts.  Coates: “Taken together, the findings surveyed in this review suggest the possibility that economic agents are more hormonal than is assumed by theories of rational expectations and efficient markets.  These theories assume, for example, that prices in financial markets accurately reflect all available information.  But a trader’s interpretation of information may not be stable: a trader with high levels of testosterone may see only opportunity in a set of facts; while the same trader with chronically elevated cortisol may find only risk.  Furthermore, risk preferences may not be stable.  If traders are subject to a financial variant of the winner effect, such that rising levels of testosterone increase their appetite for risk during a bull market, and rising levels of cortisol decrease their appetite for risk during a bear market, then steroid hormones may shift risk preferences systematically across the business cycle. This effect, even if confined to a small number of people, could destabilize the financial markets (Camerer & Fehr 2006).”  Global governments and boardrooms must reflect the world’s population of 50% women and 50% men in order to be fair and balanced.

The study investigates the differences of male and female hormones in the financial trading world.  For example: “However, there are grounds for thinking that women may be less ‘hormonally reactive’ when it comes to financial risk-taking.  For example, women have only 5 – 10% of the circulating levels of testosterone of men, and they have not been exposed to the same organizing effects of pre-natal androgens.  Furthermore, some studies have found that women’s HPA axes are less reactive to stressors stemming from a competitive situation (Stroud et al. 2002).  Their greater presence in the ranks of money managers may therefore help dampen hormonal swings in the market.”

As a result, Norway mandates that 40% of their corporate boards be women.  England and France are also following this trend.  Perhaps it might be worth a try here in America?  Less scandals, balanced markets, and equality sounds reasonable to me.

The links:

http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/weiner-scandal-victory-women-leaders/story?id=13822969

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2076113,00.html?xid=feed-yahoo-full-mostpopular

http://www.growthsouthwest.co.uk/news-updates/2011/06/02/sss

http://www.neuroscience.cam.ac.uk/directory/profile.php?jmc98

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