Women’s spending behaviour is menstrual-cycle sensitive
When considering why women are more prone to money pathologies than men the influence of ovarian hormones cannot be ruled out. The phases of the menstrual-cycle are known to have a range of behavioural, psychological and physical correlates. It is well documented, for example, that women are more rational and controlled post-ovulation, but experience a rise in impulsive behaviour, anxiety and irritability during the pre-menstrual (or luteal) phase. At ovulation, or peak fertility, it has been shown that women adapt their dress style to impress men – known as the ornamentation effect. However, to date the role of fluctuating ovarian hormones on female economic behaviour has been largely ignored. This article reports the findings from a survey of 443 females, aged 18–50, reporting their spending in the previous seven days and their menstrual-cycle phase, follicular, mid-cycle or luteal. Women in the luteal phase were significantly less controlled and more impulsive than women earlier in their cycle. A significant correlation was also found for over-spending, lack of control and buyers’ remorse with day of cycle. These findings suggest that the adverse impact of ovarian hormones upon self-regulation may account for impulsive and excessive economic behaviour in women.