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Arranged Marriages Essay

4148 words - 17 pages

Arranged MarriageChapter IIntroductionArranged marriages have been around for quite a while. Not only has this form of marriage stood the test of time, even today in large parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, a significant proportion of all marriages are arranged. Consequently, social scientists of all stripes have sought to study the intricacies of arranged marriages. In fact, to commemorate 1994 as the international year of the family, the UNESCO commissioned a large study on the changing family in Asia (Atal, 1992). Arranged marriages received a considerable amount of attention in this study. This popularity of arranged marriages notwithstanding, economists have been interested in ...view middle of the document...

The rest of this paper is organized as follows: Chapter 2 provides a review of the literature and an overview of an interpersonal communication process that fits a wide variety of arranged marriages. Chapter 3 studies a formal model of interpersonal communication based on the discussion in Chapter 2, and then compares the findings of this paper with the extant literature on arranged marriages in anthropology and sociology. Chapter 5 concludes and offers suggestions for future research.HypothesisMarriage proposals are more likely to be received in certain time intervals in a marrying agent's lifetime; one can let the rate at which marriage proposals are received by the agent's well-wishers be a function of time.Chapter IIBackground Research/Literature ReviewArranged marriages are based on the assumption that because of a variety of reasons such as imperfect and incomplete information (Goode, 1963, p. 210), and the tendency of young people to seek pleasure (Auboyer, 1965, p. 176), young persons generally cannot be relied upon to find a suitable partner for them. Consequently, parents, relatives, friends, and increasingly matchmaking intermediaries (hereafter well-wishers), take upon themselves the task of looking for a suitable bride. While in western societies, the agent wishing to marry generally looks for a partner himself, in an arranged marriage this important task is generally not undertaken by the agent but by his well-wishers. The reader should note that this is a fundamental difference between arranged marriages and marriages in western nations.The second germane aspect of arranged marriages concerns the marrying agent's decision. As Blood (1967, p. 55), Rao and Rao (1982, p. 32-33), and Applbaum (1995) have noted, in modern arranged marriage settings, the agent wishing to marry has considerable autonomy over the actual marriage decision. In the words of Blood (1967, p. 11), while well-wishers look for apposite marriage prospects, the agent is "given an explicit opportunity to veto the nominee before negotiations are pursued." This agent receives marriage proposals as a result of the investigative activities--such as the placement of newspaper advertisements--that are undertaken by his well-wishers. In essence, the agent's problem is to decide which marriage proposal to say yes to.Recently, Batabyal (1998, 1999) has analyzed stochastic models of interpersonal communication in arranged marriages. Batabyal (1998) shows that a marrying agent's optimal policy depends only on the nature of the current marriage proposal, independent of whether there is recall of previous proposals. In Batabyal (1999), it is shown that the marrying agent's optimal policy involves waiting a while, and saying yes to the first marriage proposal thereafter.In both these papers, the marrying agent's decision problem is modeled in a way that precludes considerations of age at marriage. Put differently, in these papers, the marrying agent follows an optimal policy;...

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