Author Topic: Sex Ratios Influence Spending  (Read 1092 times)

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Offline Vene

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Sex Ratios Influence Spending
« on: January 15, 2012, 02:26:19 pm »
The perception that women are scarce leads men to become impulsive, save less, and increase borrowing, according to new research from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

...

To test their theory that the sex ratio affects economic decisions, the researchers had participants read news articles that described their local population as having more men or more women. They were then asked to indicate how much money they would save each month from a paycheck, as well as how much they would borrow with credit cards for immediate expenditures. When led to believe women were scarce, the savings rates for men decreased by 42 percent. Men were also willing to borrow 84 percent more money each month.

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According to Griskevicius, participants were unaware that sex ratios were having any effect on their behavior. Merely seeing more men than women automatically led men to simply be more impulsive and want to save less while borrowing more to spend on immediate purchases.

“Economics tells us that humans make decisions by carefully thinking through our choices; that we’re not like animals,” he says. “It turns out we have a lot in common with other animals. Some of our behaviors are much more reflexive and subconscious. We see that there are more men than women in our environment and it automatically changes our desires, our behaviors, and our entire psychology.”
http://scienceblog.com/51596/a-scarcity-of-women-makes-men-money-foolish/

So, there you go, evidence that we are nowhere near as rational as we would like to think. The best part is people don't even realize why they're doing what they are doing. As an aside, this is why I'm pretty skeptical of current economics, because very few economists take people's actual behavior into account and just work under the assumption that we are perfectly rational beings looking to maximize utility. This is clearly not the case, it's hard to claim a decision is rational if the decision-maker doesn't even realize he made the decision in the first place.

ETA: Grammar
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 03:25:50 pm by Vene »

Offline Quasirodent

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Re: Sex Ratios Influence Spending
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2012, 03:23:51 pm »
'people don't know why they're doing what they're doing'.
This is what I've been telling people for ages.  That under our supposed rational behaviour, humans are animals governed by animal instincts.   Personally, I believe most of our rationale is really a complicated facade created by our subconscious and our society in order to make our instinctive behaviour make some sort of civilized sense.
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Offline Old Viking

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Re: Sex Ratios Influence Spending
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2012, 04:56:26 pm »
Those Hussies Made Me a Spendthrift   Science article.
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Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: Sex Ratios Influence Spending
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2012, 06:48:07 pm »
'people don't know why they're doing what they're doing'.
This is what I've been telling people for ages.  That under our supposed rational behaviour, humans are animals governed by animal instincts.   Personally, I believe most of our rationale is really a complicated facade created by our subconscious and our society in order to make our instinctive behaviour make some sort of civilized sense.
"Most" is probably an overstatement. But yes, a lot of human behaviour is ruled by heuristics that fail as we move outside the usual situations and just weird shit that doesn't make much sense but doesn't hurt us a lot either. Humans are not rational, but we are not entirely divorced from it either.
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Offline davedan

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Re: Sex Ratios Influence Spending
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2012, 07:24:27 pm »
You know many of the decisions we make rationally are motivated by more primal instincts as well. I, as many others do, go to work so that I may provide food and shelter to myself and my loved ones.

If I didn't have children and didn't want to have sex I most likely wouldnt work. I have often thought I would be just as happy being an itinerant drunk if I had no desire for sex or children.

Anyway now that I have children I feel a moral compunction to keep employed and providing them with food and shelter, until they are at least 18, whereupon I may reconsider becoming an itinerant drunk.

Offline Oriet

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Re: Sex Ratios Influence Spending
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2012, 01:36:18 am »
You know many of the decisions we make rationally are motivated by more primal instincts as well. I, as many others do, go to work so that I may provide food and shelter to myself and my loved ones.

If I didn't have children and didn't want to have sex I most likely wouldnt work. I have often thought I would be just as happy being an itinerant drunk if I had no desire for sex or children.

Anyway now that I have children I feel a moral compunction to keep employed and providing them with food and shelter, until they are at least 18, whereupon I may reconsider becoming an itinerant drunk.
While having a family to support can give extra motivation to work, it's hardly the only reason people work. And no, the other reason isn't just to have enough cash for booze, either. First couple months with no work is pretty nice, basically like a long vacation where you can do a lot of fun stuff and have few worries. Come the third month you'll be getting bored with the routine, even if you change around hobbies, though things are still going pretty well. Come the fourth month You'll be wanting something to do, and finding that your hobbies just aren't bringing nearly as much satisfaction as they used to. Come the fifth month you'll be wanting just about anything to do, being disinterested in your hobbies, bored as fuck (and if fucking is what you spent your time doing even that will be boring), and basically finding little point in things. Given enough time you'll eventually flatten out at "meh," regularly being bored, loosing interest in different hobbies that you've already spent an enormous amount of time on because it was all you had to do, and otherwise grudgingly admitting your life is now very dull and that you wish there was some obligation to add variety and life back into your, well, life. I speak from experience on that, and pretty much everyone else I've talked to who's gone through such periods of nothing to do have given similar stories of how it goes.
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