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Study: Men who make less than partner more likely to cheat

Men who are economically dependent on their female partners are more likely to cheat -- five times more likely -- according to a new study. But the opposite is true for women who are economically dependent on their male partners. They're less likely to engage in infidelity.

The study examined 18- to 28-year-old married and cohabitating respondents who had been in the same relationship for more than a year.

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Christin Munsch, a sociology PhD candidate at Cornell University and the study's author, says for men who earn less, cheating may be a way to restore their gender identity, which may be threatened by making less money.

In which financial situation were the men least likely to cheat? Men in relationships with partners who earned about 75 percent of their incomes.

The study also found that men who make significantly more than their female partners were more likely to cheat because their jobs may create a situation more conducive to infidelity - like long hours or extensive travel.

Munsch points out that very few people in her overall study cheated on their partners, or reported doing so. During the six-year period of the study, 3.8 percent of men and 1.4 percent of women cheated on their partners.

You can check out Marketplace's other odds-and-ends stories here.

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.
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