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Better Trading Through Science

John Coates, a senior research fellow in neuroscience and finance at the University of Cambridge, has a theory. He says there would be fewer stock market bubbles and crashes if women and older men handled most of the trading. “There is less diversity in the financial world than in the military,” he quips. “On Wall Street, we have one slice of the population -- young men -- running our trading floors. That leads to extreme behavior: They go wilding.”

Wilding is not good for stocks. Such behavior likely contributed to the Internet crash in 2000 and the subprime-fueled crash of 2008-2009. So Coates, who spent 12 years trading fixed-income derivatives for Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank in New York, is now examining traders’ hormones for clues on how much risk women and older male traders are willing to take.