Marriage: An Economic Perspective

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 27th, 2010

February 15th, 2006
by Elif Ozdemir

Is there a correlation between marriage and business trade?
When all's been said and done after February 14, what is most in the minds of people smitten by love is "What could be the next best thing?" For any man, after months and months of extravagant spending and nagging from his significant other, the ultimate end of dating has to be realized, if not immediately in the near future. It's high time to talk marriage, since entering a relationship is like doing business. Every one has to make risks. Every one has to make an investment. It should be considered that economists run after investments that are tangible. Economists can never measure emotional investment.

So why do people marry? It's been a phenomenon in western societies for couples to live in together without the benefit of saying "I do." What's the underlying economic reason behind marriage?

A research by professors from Ohio State University queried some 9,000 people from the baby boom generation (those who are fifty years of age up) about the economic aspects and advantages of marrying. The study found out that marriage gives an overall positive effect on an individual's social and income status compared to someone who's living a single life. For example, a married individual experiences an increase in personal wealth. This data can also be interpreted in another way. Why? Because when one marries, one's income and property also becomes the income and property of his or her partner. That is one advantage of facing the altar. Marriage law binds a man and woman as husband and wife like no other. Think. What could be the details that Hollywood stars scuttle over during the dissolution of their marriage?

When they do get hitched, couples have more to look forward to economically speaking. The rate for residential property rises every year as more and more people move from the rural areas to urban centers. It is expected that the cost for basic necessities like food and clothing will also increase. And when the marriage produces an offspring or more, the expenditures will climb threefold. Serious cases of dalliances with other people were not included in the study.

The other thing that the research tells is that the economic benefits of marriage are higher for a person marrying a "winner," meaning the partner is not necessarily rich but very able. That is a contrast for someone who marries someone who didn't finish high school or has some form of disability.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
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