Population and Environment

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 143-159

Sex differences in valuations of the environment?

  • Margo WilsonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, McMaster University
  • , Martin DalyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, McMaster University
  • , Stephen GordonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, McMaster University
  • , Adelle PrattAffiliated withUniversity of Western Ontario

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Sexual selection theory affords a rationale for predicting that men, especially young men, may be more willing than women to risk harms and to discount the future in the pursuit of short-term gains. These propositions apply to many domains of risky behavior, and it is likely that they apply to decisions involving potential harms to the environment and health hazards as well. Two preliminary studies of university subjects' responses to hypothetical dilemmas that support the predicted sex difference are described. Important understudied questions are, to what extent reckless risk acceptance may be mitigated by material wellbeing, by marriage, and by parenthood.