More Men, More Debt

According to a new study, men are more likely to overspend and go into debt when available women are in short supply. Sex ratio, the number of available men to available women, directly influences the quality of family life and mating patterns in adults. “There are reasons to believe, however, that sex ratio has an even broader impact, affecting many other areas of human life,” said Vladas Griskevicius of the Department of Marketing at the University of Minnesota and lead author of the recent study examining how sex ratio impacts economics. “Sex ratio is likely to influence consumer behavior by affecting the intensity of same-sex competition for mates.”

In the study, Griskevicius analyzed longitudinal data from 134 cities and also conducted new experiments to evaluate the effect of sex ratio on financial decisions. “Recent research has shown that monetary decisions and consumer spending are related to mating effort,” said Griskevicius. “Increased mating effort is associated with increased male desire for immediate financial rewards and increased male spending on conspicuous consumption products.” Therefore, based on this previous data, Griskevicius theorized that a male biased sex-ratio would predict less prudent spending and saving behaviors.

The researcher discovered that in all of the cities, an overpopulation of men was directly related to higher credit card debt. “As men become more abundant in populations, American consumers’ desire access to immediate rewards,” said Griskevicius. The study also revealed that men saved less money and preferred smaller instant financial gains as opposed to waiting for more lucrative financial payouts in the future. “The current studies suggest that sex ratio might have far-reaching consequences for many economic decisions and, potentially, whole economies,” said Griskevicius. “Indeed, it is notable that many contemporary economic and social problems have been caused by excessive behavior that has prioritized short-term rewards over long-term stability (e.g., investing in subprime mortgages, drilling for oil in delicate environments, skyrocketing debt).” Griskevicius added, “As the imbalance in sex ratios continues to remain in parts of the world or parts of a country, a better understanding of this powerful cue will become increasingly important.”

Griskevicius, Vladas, Joshua M. Tybur, Joshua M. Ackerman, Andrew W. Delton, Theresa E. Robertson, and Andrew E. White. “The Financial Consequences of Too Many Men: Sex Ratio Effects on Saving, Borrowing, and Spending.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 102.1 (2012): 69-80. Print.

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  • Yvette Ashburn

    Yvette Ashburn

    January 11th, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    That’s interesting. I’m assuming when he talks there about “Increased mating effort is associated with .. .increased male spending on conspicuous consumption products”, he means they are going all out to impress the opposite sex with material stuff. When will men learn that it’s not the size of your wallet that matters to women, but the size of your heart!

  • Hillary


    January 11th, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    So they can’t find a woman so they find spending to be a way of compensating for that lack of a relationship. Hmmm I would have thought it to be drinking or something more along those lines.

  • emma


    January 12th, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    a relationship is priceless an this just shows why…you have no partner, you try to help yourself to other things and indulgences but it just isn’t the same,is it?! to all those who think relationships are too much trouble- at least it makes sense economically ;)

  • J. Fletcher

    J. Fletcher

    January 12th, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Have you considered that perhaps the reason they are spending more is because they are more depressed when they can’t find a partner? I know when I’m single for too long I waste money on frivolous things I don’t need or want for very long. It’s how I attempt to cheer myself up.

  • rosalee hanes

    rosalee hanes

    January 12th, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    I don’t think men are good with money generally. I’ve been married twice and neither of my husbands took charge of the bills and finances. It was left to me. They couldn’t hazard a guess on any given day about how much was in the bank account or what bills were due next.

  • Leslie Watt

    Leslie Watt

    January 12th, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    Our home was the opposite. My dad was the sole breadwinner and ruled the finances with an iron rod. It took him years to even add my mother to the bank account. He used to give her housekeeping and spending money. He wasn’t being mean. He just wanted that control. Mom always had plenty.

    He only did it in the end because I explained how it would be impossible for her to do anything easily with the account if he was incapacitated or died. His control freak side didn’t like the thought of that.

  • hope


    January 25th, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Hey guys, if you didn’t keep accumulating all that debt I bet there’s women out there that would be very interested in dating you. Stop spending and start looking for them.

  • LR


    April 13th, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    It’s because we abort girl babies in this country in favor of boys. And also men are outliving women too. We want men to compete over women, not the other way around. And there are more men than women on average, even in America. So therefore, a male-biased environment is always better and natural.

  • LR


    July 10th, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    @hope-Women are hard to find all over the world, including the USA. Even single men make up more than 75 percent of North Dakota’s single population for instance while women make up 35 percent or less which leads to men harassing married women and their kids but it happens everywhere all over the US and the world. And plus diseases kill women more often compared to men and women don’t survive as well as men do, especially in accidents. Women get killed more in accidents compared to men so therefore, men are the superior gender, unfortunately. And this leads women to have sex with more than 70 percent of men in this planet.

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