New research shows that high testosterone levels reduce the risk of unemployment and increase employment opportunities. Findings in the journal Economics and human biologysuggests that testosterone levels in men are related to behavioral and cognitive processes that affect the transition to the labor market.
Peter Eibich, deputy director of the Labor Demography Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, said: “We were interested in how biological markers (such as testosterone levels) report social and economic outcomes.”
“Data on such biomarkers are now being collected as part of a larger social survey, such as the UK Household Longitudinal Survey, which we used in the research project. However, our understanding of how these biological processes relate to social and economic behavior is still limited (at least for most of the available biomarkers).
“Testosterone is a particularly interesting case – previous research has clearly shown that testosterone levels are linked to certain personality traits (such as risk aversion) and personal behavior (such as status aspirations and dominant behaviors). Such personality traits and behaviors In the past, it has been linked to a person’s success in the labor market, ”said Eibich.
“At the same time, the evidence for the health effects of high or low testosterone levels is somewhat inconclusive. Thus, testosterone is a biological model that has nothing to do with health or disability and can influence economic behavior.
The UK Household Length Survey, launched in 2009, collected detailed data from approximately 40,000 households. The study now covers nine waves of data. Importantly, participants were asked about their current workforce status on each wave. Approximately five months after completing the second or third wave of the study, nurses collected biomedical data, including testosterone levels, from more than 20,000 adults.
To study the relationship between testosterone and labor market transitions, Eibich and colleagues analyzed data from 2,115 men aged 25 to 64 years who indicated that they were employed or unemployed (but not self-employed) during the nurse’s visit.
Researchers found that unemployed men with moderate to high testosterone levels were more likely to report employment during the next wave than men with low testosterone levels. This was true even after controlling genetic variation.
“Our results show that British men with high testosterone levels are less likely to lose their jobs, and if they don’t work, they are less likely to lose their jobs,” Eibich told PsyPost. “This may be due to differences in personality traits and behavior caused by testosterone. For example, we were told that men with high testosterone levels are more self-confident and use the Internet more often to look for work.”
But like all studies, the new study has some limitations.
“An important caveat is that the data used in our study only contain testosterone measured over time,” Eibich explained. “We compensate this to some extent, with the help of genetic data, to isolate testosterone levels from differences in genetic expressions (and therefore life-sustaining). However, using data from multiple measurements of testosterone levels for the same person, further research will help to understand how testosterone levels for a person change over time.
“It would be very interesting for women to see the consequences,” she added. “Our study included only men because most women’s testosterone levels were below a certain threshold.”
The study, “Inside and Out of Unemployment – The Transition to the Labor Market and the Role of Testosterone,” was written by Peter Eibich, Ricky Canabar, Alexander Plum, and Julian Schmidt.