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date: 21 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

When there is a surplus of one sex in a population, members of that sex often compete against each other for access to the scarcer sex. This chapter reviews the theoretical foundations for this phenomenon, focusing on the concept of operational sex ratio (OSR; the ratio of viable and available males to females in a given mating market) versus overall sex ratio, as well as the phylogenetic evidence of sex ratios as an important factor influencing mating behaviors. Research on human OSR and its effects is a fairly recent development but has already led to findings that are generally coherent and consistent with the nonhuman evidence. The evidence to date indicates that people who find themselves in female-disadvantaged mating markets show systematic and adaptive changes in their behaviors, including increased female intrasexual competition. The chapter concludes with discussions of additional issues and future directions for research on OSR.

Keywords: competition, operational sex ratio, sex ratio, intrasexual competition, mating markets

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