So at a glance it's hard to explain why the people of Columbus have, on average, consumer debt that's roughly ,500 more per capita than the people of Macon.
A group of psychologists thinks the disparities may have something to do with the fact that these two cities have widely diverging sex ratios.
The researchers arrive at their conclusion through a series of tests that examine the behavioral effects of sex ratios.
One was a simple statistical analysis of spending habits in 120 cities.
Sex ratio appears to influence behavior by increasing the intensity of same-sex competition for mates.Accordingly, a scarcity of women led people to expect men to spend more money during courtship, such as by paying more for engagement rings.Previous studies have suggested that sex ratio may indeed have an impact on mating behavior.For instance, populations with an abundance of men have shown increased paternal investments — perhaps because women in these populations can be more selective with their spouse.
In a paper published earlier this year in the Findings show that male-biased sex ratios (an abundance of men) lead men to discount the future and desire immediate rewards.
Male-biased sex ratios decreased men's desire to save for the future and increased their willingness to incur debt for immediate expenditures.