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Lecture 8

ECN 340 Lecture 8: ENC340 – Chapter Three Hardford – Is Divorce Underrated

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ECN 340
Thomas Barbiero

ENC340 – Chapter Three Hardford – 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 similar to searching for the right employer/employee • What strategies to use? • Speed dating is an experimental situation where there are a group of men and women and they spend 5 to 10 minutes with each member of the opposite sex and later ask one or more for a date o Fact: while women propose a match with about 1 in 10 of the men they met, men were a bit less choosy and proposed a match with twice as many women, with about half the success rate o Relates to the topic of shortages of men or women populations • Individuals choose from the group with which they are presented o EX: men prefer women who are not overweight ▪ But if on a particular 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 six feet, the short guys have a lot more luck o Thus, who you end up with depends on the “pool” you are in The Marriage Market: The Role of Competition • 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 o If there are 20 single women and 19 single men ▪ The men will have the power to be picky. Why? • Because one women will be left without a man, and will create competition among the women and will not collect 100$ like everyone else • This situation creates scarcity and thus heightened competition at which the men will be able to bargain the women down from the 50/50 split since there will always be some women willing to take “less”, putting pressure on the others • The dramatic increase in the bargaining power of men due to scarcity doesn’t harm merely the women who don’t get to marry but also those who do. Their potential partners just have too many options to allow a “fair” bargain. o Nothing in economics is fair because of supply and demand • Shortage of men can lead to competition among women to look better by plastic surgery etc. to “catch a man” o This could be reversed with not enough females • Conclusion: competition in the marriage market matters in determining outcomes Application: The Ancestral Environment • It is fair to assume that a baby with two parent looking after it stood a much better change of reaching adulthood than a baby who’s single parent had to do both the hunting and the gathering. Hence the Evolution of the Pair-bond (marriage) • High status men were sought after by females, because of their ability to provide for the family • In modern times, we have a very reliable indicator of high status: salary and wealth • Rich men are sought after, but rich women are not sought after by men, mostly because rich women are usually old and cannot have children • Areas with high male salaries (usually in urban areas) is where a lot of women live
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