What would men do if they didn’t have to impress women?

What if a guy’s job had no effect on his value in the marriage market? How would that affect a young man’s career choices? He’d be a heck of a lot less ambitious:

This paper examines the extent to which human capital and career decisions are affected by their potential returns in the marriage market. Although schooling and career decisions often are made before getting married, these decisions are likely to affect the future chances of receiving a marriage offer, the type of offer, and the probability of getting divorced. Therefore, I estimate a forward‐looking model of the marriage and career decisions of young men between the ages of 16 and 39. The results show that if there were no returns to career choices in the marriage market, men would tend to work less, study less, and choose blue‐collar jobs over white‐collar jobs. These findings suggest that the existing literature underestimates the true returns to human capital investments by ignoring their returns in the marriage market.

Source: “Marriage and Career: The Dynamic Decisions of Young Men” from Journal of Human Capital

Something to ponder: If you’re a natural Casanova are you likely to be less ambitious? Or given the current demographics on college campuses, will we end up with a generation of male college grads who never really get out of first gear?

Author: Father Silouan Thompson

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  1. So men are in the market just for marriage? Hmmm…what about parental model influences?

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  2. “Something to ponder: If you’re a natural Casanova are you likely to be less ambitious?”


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