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Driving a hard bargain: Sex ratio and male marriage success in a historical US population

Lookup NU author(s): Thomas Pollet, Professor Daniel Nettle


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Evolutionary psychologists have documented a widespread female preference for men of high status and resources, and evidence from several populations suggests that this preference has real effects on marriage success. Here, we show that in the US population of 1910, socioeconomic status (SES) had a positive effect on men's chances of marrying. We also test a further prediction from the biological markets theory, namely that where the local sex ratio produces an oversupply of men, women will be able to drive a harder bargain. As the sex ratio of the states increases, the effect of SES on marriage success becomes stronger, indicating increased competition between men and an increased ability to choose on the part of women. © 2007 The Royal Society.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pollet TV, Nettle D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biology Letters

Year: 2008

Volume: 4

Issue: 1

Pages: 31-33

ISSN (print): 1744-9561

ISSN (electronic): 1744-957X

Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing


DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0543

PubMed id: 18055406


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