Biology and being green: the effect of prenatal testosterone exposure on pro-environmental consumption behaviour

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Journal of Business Research


Chris Hand

Publication date


Differences between men and women in terms of pro-environmental behaviour have been attributed to differences in perceived threats to gender identity; pro-environmental behaviours being viewed as more feminine than masculine. Conversely, if pro-environmental behaviour is framed in terms of competition with peers, men might be expected to engage more than women. This paper explores how far such behaviours are related to a suggested source of gender related attitude/behaviour differences: pre-natal exposure to testosterone and estrogen, employing a suggested biomarker, the ratio of the length of the second and fourth digits of the hand (2D,4D). A stratified sample of UK households containing 880 adults (400 male and 480 female) drawn from the Understanding Society Survey Innovation Panel is used. A small but significant difference between men's and women's environmental behaviour is found whilst greater engagement with pro-environmental behaviour is associated with more masculine ratio in men, but not women.





Environmental Sociology, Households, Economics, Childbearing: Fertility, Social Attitudes, Social Behaviour and Biology



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