Two new studies about risk-taking attempt to find out who actually takes risks and what sort of an impact risk-takers can have.

The first study took place behind the walls of an office. Researchers looked at 179 corporate executives who held private pilots’ licenses and 2,900 non-pilots, and they found that the CEOs who were taking risks in their personal lives were prone to be more aggressive and take more risks with their business strategies.

It can even be said that risk-taking CEOs, according to researcher Stephen McKeon in an interview, “execute acquisitions that are more value-creating than those completed by other executives.”


The researchers say their study suggests that risk-taking CEOs are oftentimes better suited for running a public corporation, as their thrill-seeking tendencies and creative flair can yield positive results for their firms.

But who exactly are these risk-takers the researchers speak of? An upcoming paper in the Current Directions in Psychological Science gets to the bottom of who takes risks and attempts to debunk the stereotypes of who is a risk-taker and who isn’t.

Though many people are under the impression that men are the risk-taking sex, it’s only financially— Columbia Business School researchers found that women were more apt to take social risks, whether it was moving on to a new career later in life or bringing up an uncomfortable subject at a work meeting. And, teenagers as risk-takers: the epitome of impetuous? Researchers found that, as long as there wasn’t an emotional trigger, the teens were able to think calmly about a situation and be just as careful as adults.