When there are many more women than men, do men act more like women?

In some ways, yes:

We assemble a novel dataset to study the impact of male scarcity on marital assortative matching and other marriage market outcomes using the large shock that WWI caused to the number of French men. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we find that postwar in regions with higher mortality rates: men were less likely to marry women of lower social classes; men were more likely and women less likely to marry; out-of-wedlock births increased; divorce rates decreased; and the age gap decreased. These findings are consistent with men improving their position in the marriage market as they become scarcer.

Source: “Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching” from American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Volume 3, Number 3, July 2011 , pp. 124-157(34)

This is interesting because it raises an interesting question: to what degree are the stereotypical relationship behaviors associated with men and women hardwired and to what degree are they just the result of market dynamics?

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About Eric Barker