Even if you aren't the best looking of men, chances are bright that you will settle down to wedded bliss if you have a fat bank balance, says a pioneering study of the "marriage market".
The study is one of the first that provides hard evidence to the suggestions that the fairer sex is drawn not to a man's looks, but his status, power and wealth.
AdvertisementBased on a historical data from 1910 of more than 20,000 American men from the turn of the century, the study found that when men are in short supply due to events such as wars, women are willing to settle for poorer partners of lesser social sway.
However, when men are in abundance, women tend to turn choosy, driving a bargain for the richest and most powerful men. This in turn, has the marriage prospects of poor-off male "drastically reduced", reveal lead researches Thomas Pollet and Daniel Nettle of Newcastle University
"Here we show that if men are abundant, this will influence the market value of their desired traits, that is, women can demand more. This aspect, namely individual decision making as a function of the mating market (local abundance or scarcity), has been relatively neglected within the literature on human mate choice," the Telegraph quoted Mr Pollet, as saying.
He states that according to the findings, when the sex ratio is equal, married men tend to have a slightly higher socio-economic status than bachelors.
"As the sex ratio increases, married men are predicted to need up two or three times the socioeconomic status of unmarried men," he said.
The study confirms a 1991 prediction by Frank Pedersen of the University of Delaware that the sex ratio has a big impact on the marriage market.
"Thus, much about the varying ethos of male and female behaviour across populations and across time could in principle be explained with reference to the sex ratio," said Mr. Pollet.
"These questions are ripe for future investigation, but our study has clearly established the more limited fact that sex ratio fluctuations in modern humans can put one sex in the driving seat and allow them to drive a hard bargain."
The study is published in the journal Biology Letters.
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