Kevin Lewis

September 09, 2017

Women's Progress for Men's Gain? Gender-Specific Changes in the Return to Education as Measured by Family Standard of Living, 1990 to 2009-2011
ChangHwan Kim & Arthur Sakamoto
Demography, forthcoming


This study investigates gender-specific changes in the total financial return to education among persons of prime working ages (35-44 years) using U.S. Census data from 1990 and 2000, and the 2009-2011 American Community Survey. We define the total financial return to education as the family standard of living as measured by family income adjusted for family size. Our results indicate that women experienced significant progress in educational attainment and labor market outcomes over this time period. Ironically, married women's progress in education and personal earnings has led to greater improvement in the family standard of living for married men than for women themselves. Gender-specific changes in assortative mating are mostly responsible for this paradoxical trend. Because the number of highly educated women exceeds the number of highly educated men in the marriage market, the likelihood of educational marrying up has substantially increased for men over time while women's likelihood has decreased. Sensitivity analyses show that the greater improvement in the family standard of living for men than for women is not limited to prime working-age persons but is also evident in the general population. Consequently, women's return to education through marriage declined while men's financial gain through marriage increased considerably.

Racial Differences in Transitions to Marriage for Unmarried Mothers
Gerald Eric Daniels, Venoo Kakar & Anoshua Chaudhuri
Journal of Family and Economic Issues, September 2017, Pages 370-389


Unlike prior studies that have explained racial differences in the transitions to marriage among unmarried women, our study used the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine racial differences in the transitions to marriage among unmarried women following a non-marital birth. We found that Black mothers were 60-65% more likely to delay marriage after a non-marital birth compared to White mothers and these racial gaps were only partially explained by economic, demographic and attitudinal factors. Our paper further contributes to this literature by examining changes in cohabitation patterns, educational attainment, poverty status and attitudes of gender distrust that are able to partially explain and reduce these racial gaps in transitions to marriage. With the general decline in marriage and rise in cohabitation, our paper tried to assess whether cohabitation is a leading factor for marriage or a substitute for marriage for unmarried mothers. Racial disparities have important implications for child wellbeing and intergenerational transmission of inequalities.

Cycling on the fast track: Ovulatory shifts in sexual motivation as a proximate mechanism for regulating life history strategies
Tran Dinh et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming


In an ancestral world without modern contraception, how did women regulate their fertility? We argue that fertility may be regulated by context-dependent changes in sexual motivation that are specific to the high-fertility phase of the menstrual cycle. Accordingly, we predicted that ovulatory changes in sexual motivation would vary as a function of women's life history strategies, operationalized in terms of exposure to adverse childhood environments (high unpredictability, low SES, and low father quality). We tested this prediction in a sample of 1004 naturally cycling, pair-bonded women recruited using Amazon Mechanical Turk. Data show that women from adverse childhood backgrounds experienced higher in-pair sexual motivation and engaged in more in-pair sexual behavior at high fertility, compared to women from childhood backgrounds with low adversity. Women from low-adversity childhood backgrounds were more likely to exhibit ovulatory decreases in sexual motivation at early stages in their relationships. We found little evidence, however, that childhood environments interact with conception risk to predict women's extra-pair motivation and behavior. Results offer evidence that women may possess evolved psychological and behavioral mechanisms for regulating the timing of reproduction.

You deplete me: Impacts of providing positive and negative event support on self-control
Courtney Gosnell & Shelly Gable
Personal Relationships, September 2017, Pages 598-622


We examined how providing social support may reduce self-control. Participants who reported greater effectiveness concerns and emotion regulation while providing daily support showed greater behavioral and subjective depletion; moreover, supporting partners' negative events tended to involve greater concerns and emotion regulation than partners' positive events (Study 1). It was the act of providing support (and not just listening to events) that led to depletion (Study 2), and manipulating individuals to have greater concerns about support effectiveness caused them to show less self-control (Study 3). Overall, the results suggest that support provision can reduce self-control in a variety of ways (influencing persistence, focus, and feelings of exhaustion), particularly when there are concerns about effectiveness and the need to regulate emotions.

Genetic-genealogy approach reveals low rate of extrapair paternity in historical Dutch populations
Maarten Larmuseau et al.
American Journal of Human Biology, forthcoming

Objective: Evolutionary theory has shown that seeking out extrapair paternity (EPP) can be a viable reproductive strategy for both sexes in pair-bonded species, also in humans. As yet, estimates of the contemporary or historical EPP rate in human population are still rare. In the present study, we estimated the historical EPP rate in the Dutch population over the last 400 years and compared the rate with those obtained for other human populations to determine the evolutionary, cultural, and socio-demographic factors that influence human cuckoldry behavior.

Methods: We estimated the historical EPP rate for the Dutch population via the "genealogical pair method", in which the EPP rate is derived from Y-chromosome mismatches between pairs of individuals that, based on genealogical evidence, share a common paternal ancestor.

Results: Based on the analysis of 68 representative genealogical pairs, separated by a total of 1013 fertilization events, we estimated that the historical EPP rate for the Dutch population over the last 400 years was 0.96% per generation (95% confidence interval 0.46%-1.76%).

Conclusion: The Dutch EPP rate fits perfectly within the range reported for other contemporary and historical populations in Western Europe and was highly congruent with that estimated for neighboring Flanders, despite the socio-economic and religious differences between both populations. The estimated low EPP rate challenges the "dual mating strategy hypothesis" that states that women could obtain fitness benefits by securing investment from one man while cuckolding him to obtain good genes from an affair partner.


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