Economic Inequality as a Driver of Sexual Competition and Gendered Traits

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We propose to test the exciting new idea that economic inequality among households also shapes mating competition, giving rise to many of the stark sex differences in dress, spending patterns, and mental and physical health that pervade societies. While wealthy Western countries have progressed steadily toward gender-equitable opportunities over the last century, differences between women and men in aggression, interests and the incidence of diseases like anxiety and depression have, paradoxically, increased. It is clear that ossified old ways of understanding gendered traits as either biologically essential or socially constructed have little to offer in terms of further understanding. Our approach transcends old territorial boundaries, and promises a newer, better and more general way to understand gendered behaviours, including those implicated in harm to mental health, safety, and happiness. The work will involve both experimental psychological research and analysis of economic data.

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Supervisory team
Robert
Brooks

Science
Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Pauline
Grosjean

Business School
Economics
Khandis
Blake

Science
Biological,Earth and Environmental Sciences
rob.brooks@unsw.edu.au

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