From time to time The Economist amazes me with stories of how economic analysis can be applied to test many and different theories. This one, however, takes the prize.
It’s about an evolutionary psychologist who decided test a theory related to, well, here it is:
This theory is based on the idea that in evolutionary terms it benefits women to disguise when they are fertile so that their menfolk will stick around all the time. Otherwise, the theory goes, a man might go hunting for alternative mating opportunities at moments when he knew that his partner was infertile and thus that her infidelity could not result in children.
However, this should result in an evolutionary arms race between the sexes, as men evolve ever-heightened sensitivity to signs of female fertility.
Ok. It’s a bit dicey and obscure. But how in the world could you test this? Believe it or not, the researcher decided to do so by measuring wages in the “gentlemen’s clubs” of Albuquerque.
The full story’s here, with an ever-so-English title of Hidden Charms, for those who want to know the answer.