Gendernomics: A deeper look at supply and demand

supply_and_demandIn my gendernomics series, I reference supply and demand theory a lot, and will continue to do so in future posts, as it is my argument that many behaviors are linked to this basic economic function. To serve as a foundational post, I figured a deeper look at supply and demand was in order, even though many of us understand it intuitively. The fundamental variables considered in supply and demand are quantity and price for two different variables. The quantity is normally displayed on the horizontal axis, and the price on the vertical axis, the intersections between these two variables on the Cartesian plane, form a curve. A supply and demand graph is usually built to cover a single product, but they can also cover entire sectors or groups of products if the data is comparable.

The Demand curve is usually downward sloping, meaning that as price goes up, demand goes down. This is a result of a few different things, but primarily that fewer people have the funds to make a purchase, or they elect to buy substitute products.

The Supply curve is usually upwards sloping, meaning that as price goes up, supply goes up. This is due to the fact that more suppliers of a good will be willing to supply it if it commands a higher price, due to higher margins. It also tends to mean that producers who previously could not compete within the product area, will become competitive.

 

Supply and Demand

As you can see from the illustration a standard supply and demand graph is made up of a line that goes up (supply) and a line that goes down (demand) on the vertical axis (Price) and the horizontal axis (quantity) the intersection of these lines is called the “equilibrium”. The equilibrium is the point where demand and supply intersect, and thus the level that “clears the market” or to put it in other words, it is the point where you have a perfect alignment with how much to make at  what price to sell everything you make. Price elasticity affects the supply and demand graph is a factor that says something about how much of a change in price affects the demand for that product. A product is said to be price elastic if a change in price does not affect quantity demanded. A product is said to be price inelastic if the quantity demanded is heavily affected by the change in price.

Substitute products affect the demand for a product in that if there are many alternatives to a product, consumers tend to switch over to a cheaper version of the same thing. If lets say the price of bread goes up, but pasta or rice has the price go down, then people are likely to switch over to use an alternative source of carbohydrates. Giffen goods are an exception to classic supply and demand, and are goods that has an inverse relationships with price elasticity, in that they actually become more in demand as the price increases. Examples of such items are luxury goods such as high quality watches, high end cars, brand name whiskey and Tom Ford suits.

The supply side on the other hand, may also be inelastic or elastic. However, a more important factor is how rapidly a change in price is reflected in quantity supplied. This is a function of the product characteristics. For instance, during WW2, America was able to mass produce combat vehicles fairly rapidly, as a result of converting factories that already produced vehicles into producing armaments. Had America not had a well developed vehicle industry prior to the war, it would have taken much longer to respond to the need for combat vehicles. This is sometimes referred to as the supply lag, and it is interesting from a gendernomics perspective as a result of supply of both high value males and females being completely inelastic. Even if the demand for more hot women is sky high, the supply remains roughly the same globally.

How the supply and demand lines change

The basic premises are that, if you produce/have too much of something, you will have to sell it cheap because the demand is lower than the supply. If you do not have enough of something to meet demand, you can charge a higher price because some people are willing to pay it. When demand outstrips supply, prices tend to go up, when supply outstrips demand, prices tend to go down.

It goes back to the basic premise of commerce, “You can sell a lot of something to a lot of people for a little money, or a little bit of something to a few people for a lot of money”.

However, the sexual market place is quite unique in that just because every man out there wants a hot wife in her early twenties, the sexual market place does not respond by only producing hot chicks in their early twenties. In fact, doing so would make “Hot, 20something, women” drop in value, until they became the new average woman.

How this affects the Sexual market is obvious. Rollo Tomassi over at rationalmale.com linked some numbers from Chatau Heartiste the other day, that I put into a graph.

female age vs males she finds most attractive

As you can see from the above graph, as a woman’s age increases her age preferences in a mate also increases. The result of this is that demand for men of every age range will remain a constant. It also shows that female preferences are relative to her own age. This is good news of sorts for men, as this means that aging does not immediately manifest itself in the form of lower demand.

The same graph for male preferences looks like this:

male most attractive age

From this graph, we see that men between the ages of 20 and 50 all have a preference for women between the age of 20 and 24, which translates into a high constant demand for those women. It also shows that male preference is irrespective of his own age. Therefore, men will always face higher competition for women within the age bracket of 20 – 25, throughout their life. As the supply of such women is inelastic.

From this we can conclude that:

A) Women ages 20 – 24 will always experience high demand as a result of being the most appealing product for males of all ages.

B) Men will experience a lower peak demand, but a more constant demand.

U.S population pyramid.

U.S population pyramid.

After doing these numbers I found something very interesting. Females ages 20 – 29 are in a situation where the supply of males in their preferred age range is larger than it needs to be. In essence, in this age bracket, there is a constant over-supply of men, alternatively a constant under-supply of women. However, as the men grow older, this flips, and once a man reaches the age range of 30-34 the supply and demand within the bracket is virtually equal. However, beyond the age of 35, the supply of females outstrip the demand for them, and the supply of men is lower than the demand for men. This partially explains why women searching for a man within their own age bracket from the age of 35 and above are often found lamenting that there are no good men left.

Female demand vs supply

From this we can see that females start off in the SMV at 20, and live through their twenties in an abundance of males. There is simply an oversupply of males that total to a little over 600.000 in that rage using U.S census data from 2010. As women grow older and due to their relativity of preference, their demand slowly increases beyond the supply until at age range 40 – 44, where there is a demand for 970874 males in order to ensure that each female can have one. This means that females go from abundance to scarcity.

Men on the other hand, with their single preference for women between 20 and 24, are always living in a situation where supply is smaller than demand. We would need some 53 million women in that range for each man to get a woman within the age range he prefers. However, as the male pass into his mid to late thirties, he starts to experience some degree of abundance as a result of two factors, number one being the increased demand for his services. The second being the increased feeling of panic and desperation of women who are rapidly approaching 40 without a husband and children.

Note, that I am aware that lesbians exist, that gay men exist, that bisexuals exist however it is not the most relevant point in this regard. That point is that females experience a shift from abundance to scarcity, whereas men do not.

In essence, females go through their twenties as a brand new Iphone, then become a Huawei, then a Sony and finally end up as a Nokia from 1994. Men start off as that Nokia and never really change unless they do something to elevate themselves about the fray, like add in a free headset. Now, just because the men in the data prefer women ages 20 – 24, this does not mean that they will not be attracted to a woman outside of this bracket, and the same goes for men. However, these choices will be acting as substitute products. This being due to the cost of their true preference being too high (they cannot compete).

As Illimitableman writes:

Work out if you’re at an advantage or not by deducing if you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market, then calculate the external party’s degree of narcissism and negotiate accordingly. [1]

The math shows that as a general rule, men are at a disadvantage when the woman is between 20 and 29, and women are at a disadvantage when they are older than 30.

Summary and Conclusions

Men are always in some form of over-supply, if one takes a hint from commodities markets where little product differentiation exists, the only strategy that allows profits to be earned is to reduce costs. Aluminum ingots cannot ever become a differentiated product to the point where someone insists on buying only ingots from ALCOA. However, the sexual market place is not one of commodities. The quote “eggs are expensive, sperm is cheap” is truthful, in that there is always going to be a large supply of sperm, due to the nature of its production. The production of eggs will always lag behind, due to their highly limited nature.

However, there are markets within the market where certain selections of both products have different supply/demand dynamics. For instance, there are markets for cheap vodka and high-end vodka, for cheap cars and luxury cars, that point to the fact that it is possible to make a product with the opposite characteristics than those that would be expected within the product category.

These products cannot completely shed the base characteristics of their parent-category, but they can appeal to niches within a market where the demand and supply characteristics are different. This is where the focus on self-improvement, standing out, and so on, come from in that it turns your basic product into a high quality product. While this can never completely eliminate supply and demand as a concern, it can assist in appealing to markets where you either experience a less hostile competitive climate or where you have a higher probability of appealing to the market.

More Reading:

Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create an Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim

Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance by Michael E. Porter

Sources:

[1] http://illimitablemen.com/page/3/

[2] http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-03.pdf

 

 

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7 comments on “Gendernomics: A deeper look at supply and demand

  1. […] is a curve that shows market value. Market value can be translated into 2 variables: Supply and Demand. Approaching the variables using pure logic, and supply & demand theory would indicate […]

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  2. […] talked extensively about supply and demand curves in my later posts, and I promised a few people that I wouldn’t go overly heavy on mathematics […]

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  3. […] with age, often referred to as her “hitting the wall” or as I outlined in my post on supply and demand, where a woman feels demand for her drop and thus sees the need to secure a long-term relationship […]

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  4. […] has an interesting effect on the supply-demand paradigm within the SMV. Where the macro of the supply demand equation has women as the in demand commodity until they hit […]

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  5. […] [5] Supply and Demand in the sexual market place […]

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  6. […] position where they feel lucky if a woman will give them the time of day. This is a function of the supply and demand characteristics of the sexual market place. Women grow up in a position where they are in constant demand, and spend their first 10 – 20 […]

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  7. […] is the classic driving force behind most over-valuations in financial markets, limited supply, perceived demand in excess of supply and excessive growth, the product has at least some of its value derived from intangibles and a market that is suffering […]

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