A fascinating article in the NYT by economist Robert H. Frank looks at the effects of gender supply and demand in the U.S. and China.Frank reasons that around 1969 there were fewer men of marrying age — 26 — than women of marrying age — 22 — who were born during the post-war boom. Because of the scarcity of men, male sexual preferences dominated and the sexual revolution was born.
Right now China has the opposite imbalance, with too many men resulting from the One-Child Policy. This has had the effect of driving men aggressively to seek wealth and take risks:
For example, when Shang-Jin Wei, an economist at Columbia University, and Xiaobo Zhang of the International Food Policy Research Institute examined the size distribution of Chinese homes, they found that families with sons built houses that were significantly larger than those built by families with daughters, even after controlling for family income and other factors. They also generally found that the higher a city’s male-to-female ratio, the bigger the average house size of families that have sons…
Mr. Wei and Mr. Zhang find evidence that men are more likely to make risky financial investments in cities with higher male-to-female ratios. Their specific finding was that significantly more local businesses are started in such cities. This doesn’t appear attributable to other factors, since cities’ sex ratios seem to have no effect on the number of businesses started by foreigners.
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