Women Were Better at Trading Stocks During the Financial Crisis Than Men


According to a new study, men were more likely to sell stocks at the bottom of the market than women during the financial crisis, based on I.R.A. account activity in 2008-2009 at Vanguard, the mutual-fund company. It's for the same reason that men have to ask women out on dates and never stop to ask for directions (and other universal truths about men and women).

“There’s been a lot of academic research suggesting that men think they know what they’re doing, even when they really don’t know what they’re doing,” said John Ameriks, head of Vanguard Investment Counseling and Research and a co-author of the study. Women, on the other hand, appear more likely to acknowledge when they don’t know something — like the direction of the stock market or of the price of a stock or a bond.

Men are also likely to trade more often than women, while women are simply more risk-averse. It all has to do with pornography and motherhood and the caveman brain:

Researchers have found that activating the nucleus accumbens — a brain region that is stimulated when you eat delicious food or look at an attractive person — can affect financial risk-taking. When young Stanford men were shown pictures of partially clothed men and women kissing, he said, that region of their brains was activated. And when they were then given financial tests, the men became more likely to “make high-risk gambles.”

Before the dawn of history, aggressive risk-taking might have given men an advantage in finding mates, she said, while women might have become more risk-averse to protect their offspring.

Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel Elizabeth Warren doesn’t bat an eye at porn, and she certainly doesn't unload stock at the bottom of the market.

How Men’s Overconfidence Hurts Them as Investors [NYT]