Friday, November 09, 2007

Experimental Economics: M-F Stereotypes Are True

Greg Mankiw has a link to this interesting article "An Economist Goes to a Bar":

The article discusses how two economists and two psychologists conducted a two-year speed-dating experiment at a bar near the campus of Columbia University, and they found these results:

1. Men put significantly more weight on their assessment of a partner's beauty, when choosing, than women did.

2. Women got more dates when they won high marks for looks.

3. Intelligence ratings were more than twice as important in predicting women's choices as men's.

4. Men avoided women whom they perceived to be smarter than themselves. The same held true for measures of career ambition—a woman could be ambitious, just not more ambitious than the man considering her for a date.

5. When women were the ones choosing, the more intelligence and ambition the men had, the better.

Conclusion: Male-female stereotypes appear to be true.

a) Males are a gender of fragile egos in search of a pretty face and are threatened by brains or success that exceeds their own.

b) Women, on the other hand, care more about how men think and perform, and they don't mind being outdone on those scores.


At 11/09/2007 9:56 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Ahhh, personally I think the, "Male-female stereotypes appear to be true" is pure, politically correct hogwash...

I think you should reconsider the term W.I.F.E...

At 11/09/2007 4:24 PM, Blogger Tom Davis said...

The problem isn't that stereotypes are wrong in general, it's that they are wrong in specific instances. There is a very big difference between "70% of men would not date a woman they perceived as more intelligent" and "Men don't fancy smarter women" The second doesn't allow for the possibility that Bob likes the smart women.

And of course the study doesn't delve into the causes of those trends. It is possible that a belief that men like looks and women dig brains and the desire of people to look good to their buddies is sufficient to describe this behavior. That means that changing the belief would be sufficient to change the action.

And finally, this doesn't have anything to do with the fragile ego stereotype. That is to say, there is no indication that men are less likely to choose a mate they perceive as more beautiful, nor that women would be willing to date a man they perceived as more beautiful than themselves. Ego isn't just about brains.


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