The economics of brideprice

by on August 6, 2017 at 12:08 am in Economics, Law | Permalink

There is a newly published article on that topic, by and , here is the abstract:

Approximately seventy-five percent of the world’s population lives in countries where asset exchange upon marriage is obligatory. Rising brideprice—money or gifts provided to a woman’s family by the groom and his family as part of marriage arrangements—is a common if overlooked catalyst of violent conflict. In patrilineal (and some matrilineal) societies where brideprice is practiced, a man’s social status is directly connected to his marital status. Brideprice acts as a flat tax that is prone to sudden and swift increases. As a result, rising brideprice can create serious marriage market distortions that prevent young men, especially those who are poor or otherwise marginalized, from marrying. This phenomenon is especially evident in polygamous societies, where wealthy men can afford more than one bride. These distortions incentivize extra-legal asset accumulation, whether through ad hoc raiding or organized violence. In such situations, rebel and terror groups may offer to pay brideprice—or even provide brides—to recruit new members. Descriptive case studies of Boko Haram in Nigeria and various armed groups in South Sudan demonstrate these linkages, while an examination of Saudi Arabia’s cap on brideprice and its efforts to arrange low-cost mass weddings illustrates the ways in which governments can intervene in marriage markets to help prevent brideprice-related instability. The trajectory of brideprice is an important but neglected early indicator of societal instability and violent conflict, underscoring that the situation and security of women tangibly affect national security.

For the pointer I thank the excellent Kevin Lewis.

1 S. Tire August 6, 2017 at 12:32 am

They should move to an American style system, where the brideprice isn’t imposed until after the marriage is dissolved(promotes male effort to maintain the marriage) and the price imposed is much more progressive(which dis-incentivizes attempts to make more money, which I guess is a good thing now, can’t have those proles trying to rise up.) Of course, this dis-incentivizes the act of marriage itself, but it doesn’t appear that anybody has noticed. What price is that, anyway, to pay compared to the gain of peace? The violence of those regions must be explainable by convoluted econ-theories, only the rubes would believe in an explanation as simple as “maybe they are an inferior race with an inferior culture?”

2 Kanye August 6, 2017 at 12:42 am

If you ain’t no punk holla ‘We Want Prenup!’

3 Revenge of the Scyth August 6, 2017 at 10:35 am

It’s always funny when punks think those things work.

4 Alan Brittany August 6, 2017 at 7:51 am

What a great contribution to the discussion! A pseudo-intellectual 4chan attached to every post on tyler’s blog just really elevates the whole endeavor to another level.

5 Anonymous August 6, 2017 at 8:45 am

Hehe, you have defeated him
*tips*

6 Revenge of the Scyth August 6, 2017 at 10:36 am

I think it’s supposed to be satire.(i.e. S. Tire)

7 JonFraz August 8, 2017 at 1:27 pm

The issue in American marriages when they split up is much more likely to be child support, not alimony (if that’s what you’re talking about). And child support can and is assessed whether a couple is married or not

8 Jeremy August 6, 2017 at 12:36 am

Men (especially young men) who aren’t getting laid are dangerous. I’d bet most homicides (whether by terrorist, soldier, revolutionary, or criminal) are committed by this group.

9 Mark Thorson August 6, 2017 at 1:22 am

That’s an argument in favor of prostitution. Maybe the United Nations should get involved with that, in the interest of world peace.

10 The Other Jim August 6, 2017 at 9:13 am

No, it’s an argument against polygamy. Societies that practice polygamy are an absolute nightmare for men.

(And it’s only going to get more popular in the west. Your descendants be friends with a polygamist long before they have a self-driving car, I promise you that.)

Thanks for the post. I’m going to send it to the next person I hear complaining about how oppressive it is to be a woman in the USA.

11 Moo cow August 6, 2017 at 10:09 am

Just curious, but have Trumps ex-wives remarried?

We have polygamy but we disguise it as serial marriage. As opposed to having multiple wives concurrently. But the effect can be similar.

How many mgtow bros would have a wife but the only ones around have had 10.46 miles of some other guys dicks in her?

12 JonFraz August 8, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Serial marriage however doesn’t cause the problem with a large “bachelor horde” that concurrent polygamy does.

13 Hazel Meade August 6, 2017 at 5:13 pm

They are, but that’s usually because the wives don’t have any say in who gets to be the next bride.

if we had polygamy in America, we would probably require all parties to the original contract to agree to the next marriage. And equally irrelevany would be if it’s one-man many vices or one-woman many husbands or just a big free love commune. At some point, the impossibility of getting everyone to agree on the next spouse would render it self-limiting.

14 Hazel Meade August 6, 2017 at 5:14 pm

er one man many wives.

15 Revenge of the Scyth August 6, 2017 at 10:43 am

That’s the exact opposite of the truth. The occasional mass shooting committed by an Elliot Rodger type is a man-bites-dog story. Here’s the dog-bites-man:

“Compared with virgins, men with more sexual experience are likely to drink more alcohol, attend church less, and have a criminal history. A Dr. Beaver (nominative determinism again!) was able to predict number of sexual partners pretty well using a scale with such delightful items as “have you been in a gang”, “have you used a weapon in a fight”, et cetera. An analysis of the psychometric Big Five consistently find that high levels of disagreeableness predict high sexual success in both men and women.”

http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/08/31/radicalizing-the-romanceless/

16 Alain August 6, 2017 at 12:37 pm

That’s quite the article. And an on point rebuttal.

Scott is usually solidly in camp blue, however, this article is not at all that. It is from 2014, I wonder if he simply gave in to the intimidation?

17 Revenge of the Scyth August 6, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Or maybe he just wanted to get laid!

18 Slocum August 6, 2017 at 7:53 pm

Scott’s more in what he sometimes calls the ‘gray’ camp. But he lives among the blues and goes to lengths not to be in-your-face with his grey tendencies.

19 Jeremy August 6, 2017 at 12:53 pm

“Content note: Gender, relationships, feminism, manosphere… Some analogical discussion of fatphobia, poorphobia, Islamophobia”

And…. I stopped reading right there. Imagine if you start reading an article that started off with “Content note: Barack Hussein Obama, Lamestream media, Libtards” Are you going to read that?

I don’t read garbage from either side.

20 Revenge of the Scyth August 6, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Alexander has to signal because he’s writing semi-publicly and living in a team blue bubble and he knows he has to signal hard, he makes Tyler look very brave in comparison. Nevertheless, he makes a good point, and you shouldn’t be so close minded that you automatically dismiss it just because of his signalling.

21 Jeremy August 7, 2017 at 9:54 am

I actually read it (excluding the long feminist quotes). I see what you mean. He has to use some blue gang signs to say he’s one of them while he says something not very blue.

And I agree with most of what he sees but I don’t think it negates my original point. If you look at only the young singles in the dating market from the perspective of a nice guy, it looks like some of the more unstable guys get a higher number of mates.

But if you look at the overall population, it looks most of the unstable guys all come from the group of single guys who aren’t consistently getting sex (some may be getting occasional one-nighters but that’s very different psychologically than consistent sex).

22 Larry Siegel August 7, 2017 at 2:51 am

I find him fascinating. The content note is a form of satire. What is the blue bubble he lives in?

23 Jeremy August 6, 2017 at 1:02 pm

I am curious though, why and when did the left decide to pretend the pattern doesn’t exist?

Insurance companies know it, nightclubs know it, single women sure know it. Only leftists are in denial. I don’t remember the left denying it five years ago. Did it come up during arguments about Islam or something?

24 Jack August 6, 2017 at 8:34 am

Reads like a parody of economic writing with lots of jargon and no substance.

25 Bill August 6, 2017 at 9:48 am

We dont have a brideprice going in,

But,

We do have one going out.

Alimony.

26 Moo cow August 6, 2017 at 10:11 am

More and more the alimony is going from the woman to the man.

I think they call it income equalization or something. It doesn’t last that long.

27 Potato August 6, 2017 at 12:02 pm

I don’t have a dog (cow?) in this fight, but this is just hilariously wrong.

3% of alimony recipients are men. 97% are women. I don’t know what Tumblr post you got your stats from. That 3% is up from 2.5% in 2000 btw.

So sure, .5% in 15 years. “More and more.” You nailed it.

28 Revenge of the Scyth August 6, 2017 at 1:24 pm

+1

29 JonFraz August 8, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Alimony is uncommon and is assessed in maybe 10% of divorces. It’s a good guess that those divorces involve people in the uppermost quintile of the income distribution, since further down the ladder wives are very likely to have their own jobs./careers and thus are presumed capable of supporting themselves.
The far larger financial issue in divorce (when the marriage has minor children) is child support. You will find far, far more men (and occasionally a few women) laboring to make those payments than alimony payments.

30 Alain August 6, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Amazingly horrible comment.

31 Evans_KY August 6, 2017 at 10:28 am

A devastating insight into an unfamiliar society. I am left with several disparate thoughts.

1. I am so profoundly grateful to have been born in America at this period of time. In these shatter zones particularly, female empowerment through education, micro loans, and safe havens are worthy investments.

2. We are never really far from our primitive selves.
http://discovermagazine.com/1995/aug/apesofwrath548

3. Perhaps the military should perfect and deploy a female sexbot army to infiltrate ISIS and other extremist groups.

32 Potato August 6, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Regarding #2

That was one of the worst articles I’ve read about primates, to include humans. There are no citations at all, it is essentially a blanket assumption that humans are identical in behavior to chimpanzees and a species of baboon. There is literally no data in the article to support any of the stated opinions of the author. The closest we get is an anecdote disguised as data, “9 out of 10 times.” It then directly compares women living in cities to female chimps straying away from female kin and thus prone to sexual violence, and equates modern marriage with literal sexual slavery.

The only thing worse than this article is that you apparently have remembered it for 22 years just to link in an MR thread.

33 Bill August 6, 2017 at 10:41 am

Does increasing education for girls increase or reduce brideprice? If women are something the father wants to get rid of because of the cost, you would think that increasing women’s education would reduce brideprice payments.

Wrong.

“Ethnic groups that traditionally engage in bride price payments at marriage increased female enrollment in response to the program. Within these ethnic groups, higher female education at marriage is associated with a higher bride price payment received, providing a greater incentive for parents to invest in girls’ education and take advantage of the increased supply of schools. For those girls belonging to ethnic groups that do not practice bride price, we see no increase in education following school construction. We replicate these same findings in Zambia, where we exploit a similar school expansion program that took place in the early 2000s. While there may be significant downsides to a bride price tradition, our results suggest that any change to this cultural custom should likely be considered alongside additional policies to promote female education.”

Here is the link http://egcenter.economics.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/nunn.pdf

34 Borjigid August 6, 2017 at 12:11 pm

If 75% of the world’s population lives in countries where asset exchange on marriage is mandatory, shouldn’t the authors be able to come up with cleaner examples of bride price driving violence than Nigeria and South Sudan?

35 Aretino August 7, 2017 at 3:05 pm

If radicalization is largely due to brideprice issues, it seems we have a way to sharply reduce radicalization by changing the marriage market.

36 Shola gebaga August 7, 2017 at 4:53 pm

Bride pride in Africa is the worst compare to advance nations, especially in Nigeria. The igbo tribe are the most expensive culture to get a woman as wife. You have to spend $5,000dollar for bride pride as dowry and other items before the marriage rite. Nigeria been a developing nation is difficult for average person to earn $10 per a day as sources of income let alone spending such huge amount of money as bride pride.

37 Oliver Chapman August 9, 2017 at 4:32 am

Wow, i’d never heard of pride price. We really do have it easy here in the west.

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