Sex ratio influences choices made by men and women: study

Engagement ring

Sex ratio may influence financial choices made by men and career choices by women, according to a new study.

Researchers from University of Minnesota found that sex ratio may influence people's decisions, with women opting for lucrative careers if men are scarce and men shelling out more on gifts for their beloveds if there are fewer women, the ABC News reported.

In a study of about 600 people, when male college participants were told there was a scarcity of women on their campuses and in other areas of their lives, they were willing to pay USD 6.01 more on average for Valentine's Day gifts and USD 278 more for an engagement ring than men who were not told of a supposed scarcity of the opposite sex.

"What's always been interesting to me is people in the study are unaware that sex ratio has any affect on their preferences," lead author Vlad Griskevicius, marketing and psychology professor from the University said.

"They just feel like an engagement ring should cost a particular amount, but they have no idea what's causing them to feel that way," Griskevicius said.

In a second analysis, researchers conducted a data study of 143 US cities. In places where women were more 'scarce', men cut their savings rate by 42 per cent and they increased their credit card debt by 84 per cent.

However, the researchers found that sex ratios did not seem to correlate with women's financial practices.

Though women's finances did not directly seem to be related to sex ratios, Griskevicius hypothesised that the scarcity of the opposite sex has an effect on women's other choices, such as career decisions.

To one group, the researchers told the participants that there were fewer men in their communities, showed them photos with more women than men and altered news articles to show a scarcity of men.

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