Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Food: Wedding Cakes

Quite interesting article in The Economist on marriage statistics...

Apparently - and surprisingly, at least to me - better educated (and thus also better off) wed more and stay wedded longer. This, of course, boosts their wealth even more. By contrast, precisely those who are by definition much worse off, seem to shirk marriage. Not only that, but they also tend to claim they "do not believe they can afford it". Strange, to say the least, and quite contrary to what one might expect if people were rational agents. Which they aren't, of course. But one would still expect people to behave in adaptive way, and when you're strapped for resources the adaptive thing to do is to find a willing partner to pool resources with. Even just sharing residence must yield great savings. Strange.

The more I think about it, the more I think about that "can't afford" statement. Could it be that the society has become so infected by the need for grandiose weddings that the fact one cannot have a wedding cake posh enough, and the reception glitzy enough, prevents people from even trying? Or are under-educated so under-educated that they cannot see savings even in the simple case of marriage? What can be done to change this? Mind you, I think marriage in itself is not necessarily the only solution here. There's really nothing wrong with people just living together. This is about efficient use of scarce resources which will eventually greatly benefit any children, or even just partners' pension funds.

Research project: is this also the case in UK and Europe?