The cost of love.
Econ 101 lessons for your love life.
SUPPLY & DEMAND There’s a better chance of your man pulling out all the stops this Valentine’s Day if you live in a city with more bachelors than eligible women. A recent paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology describes an experiment in which male university students were asked to read either an article saying that men were starting to outnumber women on their campus or an article that indicated the opposite. When the men were asked how much the average guy should spend on a Valentine’s Day gift for his girlfriend, those who thought women were becoming scarcer were more generous, pricing the gift higher (an average of $53 versus $47 from those who believed there were more women). Participants who thought malefemale ratios were not in their favour also expected men to spend more on an engagement ring than those who read articles indicating there were more women at their university ($2,674 versus $2,270). GO WEST, YOUNG WOMAN For the best odds of nabbing a lastminute V-Day date, head to Alberta. The northern municipality of Wood Buffalo—which includes oil-boom town Fort McMurray—has one of the highest male-to-female ratios in Canada (54.4 percent). As h
for big cities, Calgary (50 percent) and Edmonton (49.9 percent) have the highest ratios of men to women in Canada, according to the 2011 Census, while Victoria (48 percent) and Peterborough, Ont. (47.9 percent), have the lowest. FLOWERS VS. SEX Nearly a quarter of Canadians surveyed said they expect to pay less than $25 for a Valentine’s Day gift, while just 7 percent said they would splurge on an item over $100, according to a 2014 survey by RetailMeNot. Nearly three-quarters of Canadian men and half of Canadian women also said they’d rather have sex on Valentine’s Day than receive a present like flowers. PUT A ( MODERATELY SIZED) RING ON IT “It’s a beautiful ring, but I wish the diamond were a little smaller,” said no woman, ever. That might change now that two economists from Emory University in Atlanta have found a link between bigger engagement rings and higher divorce rates. They asked over 3,000 study participants who had been married at least once for details about their marriage, including the cost of their engagement ring and how much they spent on their wedding. They found that men who paid $2,000 to $4,000 for the ring had higher divorce rates than those who spent just $500 to $2,000. Of the women surveyed, those who recalled spending over $20,000 on the wedding were much more likely to get divorced than those who’d spent $5,000 to $10,000. In Canada, a recent survey by Bank of Montreal InvestorLine found that Canadians expect to spend an average of $15,000 on their wedding. HOME ECONOMICS Tall, dark and über-organized? A study published last October in Psychological Science found that the personality of your spouse may affect your own career success. The authors surveyed over 4,500 couples and focused on five primary personality traits: creativity, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extroversion and neuroticism. One spousal personality trait stood out for determining success at the office: Survey participants with conscientious partners—those who are organized, thorough and efficient—had higher salaries, were more satisfied with their jobs and were more likely to have been promoted in the past five years. Having a spouse with a trait like a knack for time management heightens career prospects, in part, because positive qualities rub off on a partner. BECAUSE I’M WORTH IT Some people take self-love a little bit too far— Kim Kardashian’s recent claim that her “assets” could break the Internet comes to mind—and new research shows that the economy may be partially to blame. Emory University business professor Emily Bianchi found that people who are lucky enough to come of age in an economic boom—a period with low unemployment—tend to be excessively confident and narcissistic compared to those who grow up during an economic downturn. (Kardashian was raised in the booming ’80s and the pre-tech-bubble ’90s. Just sayin’.) Bianchi calculated that American CEOs who reached early adulthood during a boom ended up paying their grown-up CEO selves 2.26 times more than they paid the nexthighest executive. The gap fell to 1.69 for those who came of age in lessprosperous times. ■