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Sex Ratio & Spending

February 8, 2012

The perception that women are scarce may make men less careful with their money.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

The cost of a female shortage.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

When women seem scarce, men may become financially impulsive.  This according to University of Minnesota marketing professor Vladas Griskevicius.  He was inspired by animal studies, which show that males get more competitive when females are in high demand.

VLADAS GRISKEVICIUS (University of Minnesota):

And so in one of the studies, we showed men and women photo arrays.  And the photos had either more men than women or more women than men.

HIRSHON:
Men who saw the male-heavy arrays estimated that they would save less and borrow more in a mock budget.  They were also more likely to take a small cash payment immediately than a bigger one later on.  Neither pattern showed up in female subjects.  And in a separate analysis, the researchers found that cities with more single men than single women have higher consumer debt, and more credit card ownership, than female-skewed cities.  I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.