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Lecture 6

ECN 340 Lecture 6: Economics of Divorce

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ECN 340
Thomas Barbeiro

Chapter 3 Is divorce Underrated? The hidden Logic that underlies love This chapter looks at competition, supply, and demand in the marriage market Searching for the right spouse is like searching for the right employeremployee What strategies to use? Speed dating is an experimental situation where there are a group of men and women and they spend 510 mins with each member of the opposite sex and later ask one (or more) for a date Fact: while women proposed a match with about 1 in 10 of the men they met, men were a bit less choosey and propose a match with twice as many women, with about half the success rate Individuals choose from the group with which they are presented: example, men prefer women who are fit But if on a evening twice as many overweight women as usual show up, twice as many overweight women receive offers of a date Similarly, more women prefer tall men than short men, but on evenings when nobody is over 6 feet, the short guys have a it more luck Thus, who you end up with depends on the pool available In the marriage market there is a matching problem: who matches up with whom and on what terms, will depend on what the competition is offering Imagine twenty single guys and twenty single girls in a room. Getting married at the experimental marriage supermarket is easy: Any man and woman who present themselves at the checkout can collect 100 (simple way to represent the psychological or financial gains from getting married) and leave, and then decide how to split it. With equal numbers of men and women, we can expect a 5050 split of 100 If 20 women and 19 men. Men will have more power to picky One women will go home without a spouse therefore not collecting part of 100 Situation creates a scarcity and thus heightened competition at which then men will be able to bargain the women down from a 5050 split since there will always be some women willing to take less Dramatic increase in the bargaining power of men due to scarcity doesnt harm merely the women who dont harm merely the women who dont get to marry but also those who do. Their potential partners just have too many options to allow a fair bargain. Shortage of men can lead to competition among women to look better by plastic surgery It could be reversed with fewer females Application: The ancestral environment Its fair to assume that a baby with 2 parents looking after it stood a much better chance of reaching adulthood than a baby whose single parent had to do both the hunting and gathering. Hence the evolution of the pair bind (marriage). High status men were sought after by females because of their ability to provide for the family
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