Saturday, March 30, 2013

Why don't economists promote marriage?

Megan McArdle has the answer:

College improves your earning prospects. So does marriage. Education makes you more likely to live longer. So does marriage. Yet while many economist [sic] vocally support initiatives to move more people into college, very few of them vocally favor initiatives to get more people married. Why is that ... ? ...

[A]ll economists are, definitionally, very good at college. Not all economists are good at marriage. Saying that more people should go to college will make 0% of your colleagues feel bad. Saying that more people should get married and stay married will make a significant fraction of your colleagues feel bad. And in general, most people have an aversion to topics which are likely to trigger a personal grudge in a coworker.


Jim in St Louis said...

"College improves your earning prospects"

I'm not sure this is a valid major premise. Some degrees in hard science would be accurate- but there are a lot of phony-baloney degrees out there, and plenty of colleges willing to sell you a degree by telling you that "College improves your earning prospects"

Aren't we always hearing stories about baristas with degrees?

Marriage however does translate into higher earnings. All married (or partnered) people do better- not all college grads do.