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February 21, 2022

Scarcity of women leads men to spend more, save less: study

When men think they outnumber women, they borrow more, save less and spend more impulsively, according to a recent study by the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

Researchers asked groups of men to read news articles suggesting that their local population had either more men or women. They were then asked to indicate how much money they would save each month and how much they would spend on credit card purchases.

When the articles suggested there was a surplus of men, the savings rate fell 42%, and the men were willing to borrow 84% more each month.

“What we see in other animals is that when females are scarce, males become more competitive. They compete more for access to mates,” says Vladas Griskevicius, the lead author of the study. “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.”

Rather than depend on lab experiments alone, the researchers reviewed archival data and calculated the sex ratios of more than 120 U.S. cities. Same result: Communities with an abundance of single men showed greater ownership of credit cards and had higher debt levels.

Is this just of interest to advertisers? Or do you feel you're affected by the demographics around you?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...