How can we find out what happens when women have the upper hand in dating? Does it ever happen? And what if? – One situation where women certainly have bargaining power is when men outnumber women. A high ratio of men to women means men compete for women and women can choose.
There are several situations where we find a high gender ratio: some countries (last week we discussed China), some immigrant communities, social groups and others. Economists have studied several of these and have found 5 outcomes in the relationship world when women have the upper hand.
- There are more marriages. Groups where men outnumber women see their marriage rates go up, compared to groups with even gender ratios.
- Men earn more. As men have to make an effort to gain an edge over potential competitors for women, one area they excel in is income.
- Women tend to work less. Overall, fewer women choose to work outside the home. This suggests that, at least in the communities studied, many women had the latent wish to be homemakers.
- Couples earn more. Women, who choose to work, earn more on average than working women in gender-even societies. Combined with point 3, this means that women won’t get up for less than a certain salary any more.
- Children born in this environment are better off. After all the above, it’s an empirical fact that in societies where men compete for women, parents of young children earn more. Children grow up in wealthier households than in societies where women have less bargaining power.
In other words, based on robust evidence: bargaining power for women is a pretty good thing, for about everyone.