Markets in Everything: Iraqi Mixed Marriages

by on August 6, 2009 at 7:05 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

Muhanad Talib, a Sunni Muslim, married his Shiite bride because she was a "suitable woman" for him. It also didn't hurt that their vows made them eligible for a $2,000 payout from the government.

Talib and his wife are among more than 1,700 newlywed couples who have accepted cash from a government program that encourages Sunnis and Shiites to tie the knot.

It's encouraging that according to the AP story such marriages are on the rise and the money seems to be treated more like a bonus than a compensating differential for risk.

Hat tip to Daniel Lippman.

1 Mike Huben August 6, 2009 at 7:39 am

Why, Alex, are you not decrying this subsidy as a government distortion of the market for mixed marriages? I’m afraid you’ll fail your next libertarian purity test.

What libertarian story will you use to validate government interest in mixed marriages?

2 MPO August 6, 2009 at 8:40 am

Yes. I, too, wish economists would confine the use of their tools and their analysis to a minority of potentially useful applications. Things are best when they are contained in narrow boxes with low ceilings.

3 Millian August 6, 2009 at 9:20 am

Wow. People shouldn’t really be so shocked by posts about non-economics topics on MR.

4 Andrew August 6, 2009 at 9:28 am

However, they definitely shouldn’t pay people to get married. Rather, if they must pay them, they should pay when they have children.

5 Funnyman August 6, 2009 at 11:16 am

There’s a really great ‘cash for clunkers’ joke in here, I just can’t quite see it.

6 mulp August 6, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Hey, a great idea; wonder if a gay rights foundation can raise money to offer $5000 cash bonuses for conservative Christian men to marry a gay man?

7 Alex Tabarrok August 6, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Wow, weird comments on this post. Was it not clear from the title that these were marriages in Iraq? I assume most people know this but it’s encouraging because not too long ago men and women in mixed marriages in Iraq were being kidnapped and killed.

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