The perception that women are scarce leads men to become impulsive, save less, and increase borrowing, according to new research from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.
The school’s assistant professor of marketing, Vladas Griskevicius and the study’s lead auther, says that when females are scares among animals in the wild, males become more competitive – and the same is true for humans.
“How do humans compete for access to mates? What you find across cultures is that men often do it through money, through status and through products.”
To test their theory that the sex ratio affects economic decisions, the researchers had participants read news articles that described their local population as having more men or more women. They were then asked to indicate how much money they would save each month from a pay check, as well as how much they would borrow with credit cards for immediate expenditures.