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Testosterone is associated with self-employment among Australian men

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Francis J. Greene
  • Liang Han
  • Sean Martin
  • Song Zhang
  • Gary Wittert
Testosterone has pronounced effects on men's physiological development and smaller, more nuanced, impacts on their economic behavior. In this study of 1199 Australian adult males, we investigate the relationship between the self-employed and their serum testosterone levels. Because prior studies have identified that testosterone is a hormone that is responsive to external factors (e.g. competition, risk-taking), we explicitly control for omitted variable bias and reverse causality by using an instrumental variable approach. We use insulin as our primary instrument to account for endogeneity between testosterone and self-employment. This is because prior research has identified a relationship between insulin and testosterone but not between insulin and self-employment. Our results show that there is a positive association between total testosterone and self-employment. Robustness checks using bioavailable testosterone and another similar instrument (daily alcohol consumption) confirm this positive finding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-84
JournalEconomics & Human Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014


  • ZHANG_2014_cright_EHB_Testosterone is Associated with Self-Employment among Australian Men

    Rights statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Economics and Human Biology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Economics and Human Biology, 3, Mar 2014, DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2013.02.003

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 217 KB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY

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