Thursday, November 03, 2016

Why Sex Matters in Personal Finance.

I've just concluded reading a book by Jon Birger called Dateonomics and it has quite a lot of insights on the effects of gender ratios of personal finance.

The book tries to examine the effects of a lack of a eligible males in US cities like Manhattan which I think can be translated into the situation in Singapore.

Almost all substantial societal progress was backed by population demographic which assumes that the number of men exceeds the number of women. In countries where there is a serious lack of women, men are forced to work hard to accumulate wealth so as to be able to score themselves a spouse. This is part of the reason why China is experiencing such a high GDP growth. Chinese men need to signal to their women that they are the alpha worth settling down with.

Where the demographics are skewed in the opposite direction, men often tune out from the marriage market as they get plenty of sexual access without any accompanying social responsibilities. This creates an interesting phenomenon in city states where single women are good-looking, highly-educated, but lonely whereas single men are generally sexually-satisfied slobs with low standards in life.

Here are some interesting statistics from the book :

a) Shift from a man-deficit to a woman-deficit will lead to an increase in consumer credit. Where men feel the scarcity of women, they take on more credit card loans.
b) Men who are primed with newspapers articles to think that there is a scarcity of women save 42 percent less and take on 84 percent more loans.
c) Men in societies with a scarcity of women earned 10% more than those who who lived in societies with less men.
d) In societies with a scarcity of women, low-earning men are 2.3 times less likely to find a wife.

If you observe the financial blogosphere, you may notice a large number of serious personal financial bloggers ( including myself )  are engineers. My theory is that more than anything else, engineers spent their days in University steeped in this idea that women are scarce in this world and developed a defensive mindset towards money as a result of that.

In fact, I have some interesting statistics on NUS:

The gender balance in NUS is about 1:1 which is great from a policy perspective.

However :

There are no men studying environmental biology.
There are 2 women for 1 man in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
There are 10 women for 8 men in the Business Faculty.
There are 1 women to 2.4 men in the Faculty of Computing.
There are 1 women to 5.2 men in Mechanical Engineering.

If I am really bothered about my daughter's odds of getting a good boyfriend, I should skew her towards engineering.

If I want my son to settle down, I would actually get him to avoid the Arts Faculty as he would be too busy being the "Golden Penis" of the Arts Faculty than to take settling down really seriously.


  1. That's really over-analysing statistics for long term planning! *heh*

  2. But you had a fun read right ?

  3. lol-ed at the 'Golden Penis'

    thanks for that

  4. Well interesting that you should mention this.

    "Golden Penis Syndrome" arises when a 60-40 gender ratio is achieved when 3 women are available to 2 men.

    These men have plenty of choices so they stop having any incentive to buck up and work hard to build a family. They become sloppy and start having low standards in life.

  5. Nursing. Guys would have the best advantage in Nursing. The gender ratio is 1 Male to 7.14 Female in school of nursing. Downside of being a nurse is monthly wages. However, there are ample opportunities to relocate offshore to pursue better pay-cheque.

  6. Hope they get free screening for STDs. 7:1 is like having a harem !