Health news

If women are scarce, men are more generous with money…

Men, women and money!
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To entice potential partners, peacocks fan their tails, chimps bang their chests and men get out their wallets! This obviously sexist view has been supported by a recent American study. According to the researchers, men will be more inclined to spend money in a scenario where women are “rare”…

Beginning with a hypothesis that the sex ratio, that is the difference between the number of men and women, has an impact on economic decisions,  Assistant professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota, Vladas Griskevicius and his team wanted to test the propensity of men to spend their money.

Does money make the world go round?

According to him, to seduce their partners, and that in whatever culture, men adopt numerous strategies – based on money, status and consumable products. To test this hypothesis, the researchers had, as a first step, a number of male participants read articles concerning local populations and the number of women in these populations.

After reading, they were then asked what amount they would save every month and how much they would be ready to borrow. Result: when they were made to believe that the available women were less, the men admitted to being less inclined to save money (-42%), but more inclined to borrow money (+84%).

In another experiment, photos with higher, lower and equal numbers of men and woman were shown to the study participants. They were then offered either $20 right now, or $30 in one month’s time. According to the researchers, when women were less on the photo, the men were more inclined to take the immediate reward of $20.

And what about money in a woman’s world?

Finally, to back up their study with figures, Vladas Griskevicius and his team broke down date concerning 120 American cities, with the main aim to calculate the sex-ration and link it to economic data. This work brought up similar results to the initial hypothesis.

The city of Columbus (Georgia) illustrates the point well: the sex-ration in Columbus is 1.18 single for 1 single woman. A few kilometres away, the city of Macon has a sex-ration of 0.78 single men for 1 single woman. According to the date obtained by the researchers, the men from Columbus would spend $3,500 more than those from Macon…

For the study’s author, these results prove that, “We see that there are more men than women in our environment and it automatically changes our desires, our behaviours, and our entire psychology”.  According to him, such a situation induces men to behave more impulsively, to save less and spend more in the short-term. It’s equally noted that the woman also men to give them better diners, Valentine’s gifts and engagement rings, when their numbers were scarcer.  

Over and above controversial and sexist aspects, this study (methodologically questionable) underlines the influence of environment on economic behaviour, supposedly the fruit of highly thought out decisions…

Sources:

A Scarcity of Women Leads Men to Spend More, Save Less,” University of Minnesota Press Release, January 2012
The financial consequences of too many men: Sex ratio effects on saving, borrowing, and spending,” Griskevicius V. and al, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 102(1), Jan 2012



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