Did Men Cause Financial Crisis?

Nancy Lebovitz cites a Michael Lewis piece in Vanity FairQuarterly Journal of Economics which in turn cites a loosely related 2001 study in the  to conclude that a major cause of the global financial crisis was that the key institutions were run by men who are much more risk oriented than their distaff counterparts.

I examine the claim in my New Atlanticist piece “Financial Crisis Result of Male Domination?“  Let’s just say that I’m unpersuaded by the evidence:

Is hubris and a fondness for risk the nature of the financial professions because they’re dominated by men?  Or are these things simply an essential component of the business model — one makes money by trading and collecting fees rather than holding and accruing incremental gains — and therefore more attractive to men?

Much more at the link.

Hat tip to Jim Henley. Photo by Reuters Pictures.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Gender Issues, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    No more or less than the claim that they were all doing it to suport their women’s shopping habits.

  2. sam says:

    I dunno James. I think you’re downplaying the testoserone element. I once spent a summer crewing on a yacht during races. Now, the prize was usually something like a silver pickle dish. But you wouldn’t have known that if all you saw was the behavior of the capitans during the race (and these were men of some means). I fully expected my capitan to pass out grappling hooks and cutlasses in case some “chickenshit worthless sob bastard” (his exact words) tried to crowd us at the turns.

  3. Wayne says:

    The game can be played both ways. Nothing venture nothing gain. Get ahead by keeping your nose to the grindstone. All those other good saying as well. One can say that the economy wouldn’t be anywhere near as great as it is if it weren’t for men. If you’re not willing to take risk financially and\or physically than your returns will most likely be small. Also those who are willing to sacrifice time with family and friends are more likely to accomplish more than if they didn’t.

    It reminds me of sports in a sense. Those who are willing to put in the extra time and effort and sacrifice their bodies are more likely to accomplish more than those who don’t. You not of much worth if don’t want to take ill advice shots every time you touch the ball but if you too afraid to take a shot because you might miss then you not much good either.

  4. Floyd says:

    I loved the use of the archaic word “distaff” in your text! Perfect!!
    It captures practically all that needs to be said on the rank of modern males.
    Notice, I did not use the soon to be archaic word “men”!(lol)
    “Words do mean things….or do they?”

  5. anjin-san says:

    No more or less than the claim that they were all doing it to suport their women’s shopping habits.

    I though you said a snark has to be funny…