Tag Archives: population structure

investment for marriage

Every Monday means a new week, but my intensive classes always start from Tuesday. Therefore, the best choice for Monday may be to go and listen to the seminars. This afternoon I listened to this presentation:

Marriage as a rat-race: Pre-marital investments and assortative matching
V. Bhaskar (UCL)
UPF Microeconomics Seminar

Well, I should admit his title really attracted me. Although I have somehow realized that marriage has something to do with investment, but due to my poor scope of knowledge, I know nothing about how to build an economic model and explain the investment behaviors that people take for marriage. His model is not complicated, but very persuasive. By assuming the "match" process with probabilities and noises, he explained how the equilibrium exists and what are  (Pareto) efficient conditions. Here it seems meaningless to put some math equations, and what has drawn my interests is that he considered a special case: the unbalanced population in China/parts of India. I was always wondering how people outside of China analyze China's problems or phenomenon. Today I got a part of answer. At least from the public statistics about Chinese population structure, there are about 50% more men than women, so the boys only have a chance (equals the female/male ratio)  to find his wife (the question here is that because of the "one-child policy" in China, when the first baby of a couple is a girl, they may choose to not  report the birth to the government so that they can try the second chance to see whether they can get a boy. Thus, I don't really believe the public data). And apparently, it influences their investment behaviors and the final efficient equilibrium conditions.

I am wondering what would happen if we consider the dynamic change of marriage market (if it can be regarded as a market match process). What may be taken into account is that not boys/men in China are intending to get married later and later, while girls usually get married at their early age. For example, some of my friends (girls) have a boyfriend 5 or even more years older than them. That is to say, if a boy cannot match a girl when he is young (20-25), he is still possible to find a wife when he becomes older and have more wealth in hand which may attract young girls. Although in the long run it is not a question, I still want to know whether this kind of "match" will have effects on boys' investment behaviors or not.

Similarly, in the labor market, if people feel hard to find a job now, they may go back to school and pursue higher degrees. What will happen if all people do this?  (just like what university graduates do in China now: they spend more time on get an admission from graduate schools with the expectation that they may find a better job with a master degree. However, will individual rationality result in group non-rationality?)

I'm looking for the full text of this paper but unfortunately it is not available online since it seems really new. Hope the author will post this paper on his websites soon, then I'll update the link here.

[Update Oct, 8] I have received the full text from Prof. Bhaskar. If anyone who is also interested, please leave a message below this post with your email address. When he puts it on his website, I'll update the link if possible.

Our results are consistent
with a reasonably large causal e§ect of attending an elite law school, but the exact size of the
premium depends varies with assumptions about the role of unobservables.