Economists Peter Arcidiacono and Marjorie Mc Elroy of Duke and Andrew Beauchamp of Boston College examined an enormous trove of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, more commonly known as The poll asked a broad range of questions about health and behavior—and the data set has become the basis of dozens of famed medical, sociological, and economic studies.
(For instance, James Fowler of UC-San Diego recently used data from Add Health be a genetic foundation for an individual's political beliefs.) For their paper, Arcidiacono, Mc Elroy, and Beauchamp focused on the dating and sex lives of high schoolers—a subject much-analyzed by magazine editors and romantic-comedy screenwriters, but less familiar to social scientists.
"That's a thing that girls let slide, because you have to," the student explains.
"If you don't let it slide, you don't have a boyfriend." Dating, in other words, is a market like any other, and market power is determined by the abundance of resources.
Where there are more girls, the male preference for sex tends to win out.
Of course, all this raises a question that has long bedeviled scores of Y. novelists, not to mention millions of teenagers: In high school, how exactly does one define a "relationship"?
For them, a relationship at some point becomes more important than purity.
Because of that phenomenon, in schools with more boys than girls, the girls hold more cards and have less sex.
Once a student has sex, it becomes less of an issue in future relationships.
," but don't hold its too-cute title against it—looked at how and when high-school students choose mates and their preferences when searching for a partner.
Relatively little such data exists for teenagers, who mostly work the old-fashioned meet-someone-in-homeroom way.