Marriage Markets Essay

972 words - 4 pages

In the United States marriage rates are dipping too new lows. The growing trend of declining marriage rates is understood with an economical approach when analyzing marriage markets. For instance, the demand and supply of husbands can be used to better explain activity in marriage markets. In this paper the demand of husbands is equated to women’s preferences, which are internal and external factors that drive women too marriage. The supply of husbands or male’s preferences, are characteristics men choose to bring to a marriage. When using an economical approach there is overwhelming evidence that the decline in marriage rates is due to a decline in women’s preferences, simply put the demand for husbands. Low demand for husbands can be attributed to; an increase in the labor supply for women, the economic risks associated with being a housewife, and the waning social stigma attached to unmarried women.
Over the course of the last century women’s total labor force participation has increased from twenty percent to sixty percent (Power, 2003). Today women are also receiving higher compensation for their work relative too men. Blau, Farber, & Winkler (2010) found that “the gender earnings ratio for each group increased substantially starting in the 1980’s.” Although there is still a considerable wage difference, the growing wages for women relative to men help explain why the demand for men has decreased, because the higher pay is facilitating them towards dependency. Historically, financial success is a typical trait in men that is in high demand in the marriage market, because it correlates over to providing for a family. Since financial success is in high demand it commands a high price (Braunstein, 2013). The ample increases in workforce and pay for women have served as “substitute goods” in place for financial stability in the marriage market, because of these opportunities the demand for husbands has taken a hit and subsequently marriage rates have declined.

The risks of entering a marriage to be a housewife outweigh the benefits, for this reason the demand for husbands has declined. One economic risk of being a housewife is that women generally receive non-cash pay for duties, which include; cleaning, caring, and sex (Bergmann 1981). Since women receive non-cash compensation for their duties they face a high pay variability, this can be detrimental if the women were to loose her job. Bergmann (1981) argues, “It may be difficult or impossible for her to accumulate a cash reserve that would carry her through until she finds some other source of livelihood.” The demand for a husband whose expectations of housework entails risks that are more costly than the benefits is going to be low.
Society has, and will always have a stronghold on teaching norms, expectations, and behaviors in every day life. In the past society had played a significant role in helping the...

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