Wednesday, June 30, 2010

As Women Take Over the World, Men Need Marriage Even More

Hanna Rosin has a fine piece in the Atlantic on how women are taking over the world.

OK, she doesn't quite put it that way. But she does note that the developing economy favors women's skills and training. The current recession has put men out of work more than usual. Things are looking up for girls in most of the world, and they are taking advantage of their opportunities.

The saddest group of guys in her article are in court-ordered "fatherhood training." These guys are mostly behind on child support and make less than their wives. Rosin's point is that women making more than their men is a growing reality. This is true.

I draw an additional conclusion from this illustration. In general, women benefit the most from marriage financially. This is still true, and given the realities of who has babies, is likely to always be true. Moreover, men are more likely to be employed in risky jobs, whereas women trade off pay and other perks for job security. Thus, there should be an increasing number of couples in which she makes the steady paycheck. During good times, he will make more; during recessions, she keeps them afloat.

One main effect, then, of women's growing economic success is that the economic benefits of marriage increase - and increasingly benefit men as much as women.

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