Mating markets

Prague Sept 2007
(photo R. Noë)

For many years I have been rather sceptical about the need of invoking biological market theory (BMT) alongside sexual selection theory (SST). A first paper that made clear that BMT can at least add something to SST, was the paper by Metz et al (2007) on red bishops (see separate page).

Recently, more and more papers on human mating markets citing BMT were published and I still wondered whether anything was added that wasn't already covered by SST. Reading those papers, I started to realise that BMT indeed highlights the strategic adaptation to the agent's own market value, usually dependent on the local operational sex ratio (OSR) better than traditional sexual selection theory does. BMT treats mating markets as dynamic, changing within and between seasons, while SST tends to deal with the effects of the population- or species-typical OSR over evolutionary time scales.

Please judge for yourself. Here are the papers on human mating markets in chronological order.
See my ScoopIt! page for some additional comments.

Human mating markets
  • Schacht, R., & Borgerhoff Mulder, M. (2015). Sex ratio effects on reproductive strategies in humans. Royal Society Open Science, 2(1)
  • Wincenciak, J., Fincher, C. L., Fisher, C. I., Hahn, A. C., Jones, B. C., & DeBruine, L. M. (2015). Mate choice, mate preference, and biological markets: The relationship between partner choice and health preference is modulated by women’s own attractiveness. Evolution and Human Behavior
  • Taylor, L. D. (2015). Men’s sexual selectivity, romantic confidence, and gender ratios in the media. The Journal of Men's Studies, 23(1), 107-113
  • Wlodarski, R., & Dunbar, R. M. (2013). Examining the possible functions of kissing in romantic relationships. Archives of Sexual Behavior
  • Taylor, L. D. (2013). Male partner selectivity, romantic confidence, and media depictions of partner scarcity. Evolutionary Psychology, 11, 36-49
  • Laeng, B., Vermeer, O., & Sulutvedt, U. (2013). Is beauty in the face of the beholder? PLoS ONE, 8(7), e68395
  • Watkins, C. D., Jones, B. C., Little, A. C., DeBruine, L. M., & Feinberg, D. R. (2012). Cues to the sex ratio of the local population influence women’s preferences for facial symmetry. Animal Behaviour, 83(2), 545-553
  • Stirrat, M., Gumert, M., & Perrett, D. (2011). The effect of attractiveness on food sharing preferences in human mating markets. Evolutionary Psychology, 9, 79-91
  • Pollet, T. V., & Nettle, D. (2009). Market forces affect patterns of polygyny in Uganda. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(7), 2114-2117
  • Pollet, T. V., & Nettle, D. (2008). Driving a hard bargain: sex ratio and male marriage success in a historical US population. Biology Letters, 4(1), 31-33
  • Penke, L., Todd, P., Lenton, A. P., & Fasolo, B. (2007). How self-assessments can guide human mating decisions. In G. Geher & G. F. Miller (Eds.), Mating Intelligence: New insights into intimate relationships, human sexuality, and the mind's reproductive system. (pp. 37-75). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Roberts, S. C., Havlicek, J., Flegr, J., Hruskova, M., Little, A. C., Jones, B. C., . . . Petrie, M. (2004). Female facial attractiveness increases during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle. Proceedings of the royal Society B-Biological Sciences-Supplement
  • Pawlowski, B., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (1999). Impact of market value on human mate choice decisions. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, B., 266, 281-285

Non-human mating markets
(see also 'Trading grooming for sex' under BM: Grooming in primates)
  • Kaburu, S. K., & Newton-Fisher, N. (2015). Trading or coercion? Variation in male mating strategies between two communities of East African chimpanzees. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
  • Massen, J., Overduin-de Vries, A., de Vos-Rouweler, A., Spruijt, B., Doxiadis, G., & Sterck, E. (2012). Male mating tactics in captive rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta): the influence of dominance, markets, and relationship quality. International Journal of Primatology, 33(1), 73-92
  • Koyama, N. F., Caws, C., & Aureli, F. (2012). Supply and demand predict male grooming of swollen females in captive chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes. Animal Behaviour, 84(6), 1419-1425
  • Dall'Olio, S., Norscia, I., Antonacci, D., & Palagi, E. (2012). Sexual signalling in Propithecus verreauxi: male “chest badge” and female mate choice. PLoS ONE, 7(5), e37332
  • Patricelli, G. L., Krakauer, A. H., & McElreath, R. (2011). Assets and tactics in a mating market: Economic models of negotiation offer insights into animal courtship dynamics on the lek. Current Zoology, 57, 225 - 236
  • Barelli, C., Reichard, U. H., & Mundry, R. (2011). Is grooming used as a commodity in wild white-handed gibbons, Hylobates lar? Animal Behaviour, 82(4), 801-809
  • Clarke, P. M. R., Halliday, J. E. B., Barrett, L., & Henzi, S. P. (2010). Chacma baboon mating markets: competitor suppression mediates the potential for intersexual exchange. Behavioral Ecology, 21(6), 1211-1220
  • Norscia, I., Antonacci, D., & Palagi, E. (2009). Mating first, mating more: biological market fluctuation in a wild prosimian. PLoS ONE, 4(3), e4679
  • Fawcett, T. W., & Bleay, C. (2009). Previous experiences shape adaptive mate preferences. Behavioral Ecology, 20(1), 68-78
  • Metz, M., Klump, G., & Friedl, T. (2007). Temporal changes in demand for and supply of nests in red bishops (Euplectes orix): dynamics of a biological market. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 61(9), 1369-1381
  • Löttker, P., Huck, M., Zinner, D. P., & Heymann, E. W. (2007). Grooming relationships between breeding females and adult group members in cooperatively breeding moustached tamarins (Saguinus mystax). American Journal of Primatology, 69, 1-14
  • Gumert, M. D. (2007). Payment for sex in a macaque mating market. Animal Behaviour, 74(6), 1655-1667