John Gapper points us toward a recent study finding that chief executives with higher levels of testosterone are more aggressive in M&A situations.
The researchers at the University of British Columbia did not actually test the CEOs in their study for levels of testosterone (they used age as a proxy) and my first reaction was to wonder if they were constructing a good story.
However, having read the study, they did consider alternative explanations, such as older CEOs being more likely to bid an acceptable amount for a target and found no evidence for them. Higher testosterone in younger chief executives remained the most likely explanation.
As they point out, M&A activity is thus similar to the “ultimatum game” - a psychological test in which two people are asked to split $40. The higher the level of testosterone in a male participant, the more likely he is to reject a low offer from his companion, even if it is all he can get."