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Abstract

We relate an observed difference between single men (SM) and single women (SW) in attitudes towards risk to the higher value assigned to social status by SM than by SW. In the marriage market, low status carries a harsher penalty for SM than for SW because when selecting a partner, the social status of a man is more important to a woman than the social status of a woman is to a man. Correlating social status with relative wealth, we show how intensified distaste at experiencing low relative wealth reduces relative risk aversion.

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