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

  • Pollet T
  • Nettle D
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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.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biological markets
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Marriage
  • Sex ratio
  • Socioeconomic status

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