Housing Hypergamy

by on January 23, 2018 at 12:11 pm in Economics, Science | Permalink

NYTimes: Thanks to the now-abandoned one-child policy, China has more young men than young women, setting off a male-led surge to buy homes to make themselves more appealing husbands. Shang-Jin Wei, a Columbia University business professor, found that rising real estate price increases in 35 big cities were strongly correlated with lopsided gender ratios.

CNN tells us that “When it comes to dating, homeownership can be the ultimate aphrodisiac,” so the effect may not be confined to China.

1 Cyril Morong January 23, 2018 at 12:35 pm

From back in 2011, we see that there are fake third floors to make a family look more wealthy

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/business/economy/marriage-and-the-law-of-supply-and-demand.html?

For example, when Shang-Jin Wei, an economist at Columbia University, and Xiaobo Zhang of the International Food Policy Research Institute examined the size distribution of Chinese homes, they found that families with sons built houses that were significantly larger than those built by families with daughters, even after controlling for family income and other factors. They also generally found that the higher a city’s male-to-female ratio, the bigger the average house size of families that have sons.

Mr. Wei reports that many families with sons have begun to add a phantom third story to their homes, one that looks normal from the outside but whose interior space remains completely unfinished.

“Marriage brokers are familiar with the tactic,” he reports, “yet many refuse to schedule meetings with a family’s son unless the family house has three stories.”

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2 Careless January 23, 2018 at 10:14 pm

Mr. Wei reports that many families with sons have begun to add a phantom third story to their homes, one that looks normal from the outside but whose interior space remains completely unfinished.

And then you can open the windows and let swallows build nests you can harvest. (commonly done in my wife’s hometown, which is full of empty third floors)

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3 Careless January 23, 2018 at 10:21 pm

Sorry, swiftlets. And obviously only regionally relevant

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4 rayward January 23, 2018 at 12:36 pm

I reside on a salt-water marsh, and every spring I can look forward to seeing hundreds if not thousands of male fiddler crabs digging their homes in the marsh mud and then seeking to attract female fiddler crabs by waving their one large claws in the air. To me, all fiddler crabs look the same, as do their homes in the mud. Sure, some are larger than others, but they are all basically the same. It must work, because the fiddler crabs repeat it every year. What works for the female fiddler crabs: is it the size of the hole in the mud or the size of the claw? Maybe it’s the location of the hole in the mud, or the angle the dangle of that claw. Jordan Peterson, Cowen’s favorite influential public intellectual, says people are like lobsters. I’m no public intellectual, but it seems to me people are more like fiddler crabs.

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5 Mark Thorson January 23, 2018 at 1:07 pm

I saw a program on PBS about a week ago that covered these crabs. They ascribed the attraction to the size of the claw. I don’t recall them mentioning the hole at all.

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6 GoneWithTheWind January 23, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Size matters. For humans this is true too. Women are impressed by the size of a man’s … bank account.

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7 Borjigid January 23, 2018 at 1:01 pm

Maybe its personality? Sometimes you just hit it off with somebody, even if you’re both fiddler crabs.

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8 Hadur January 23, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Perhaps an interesting idea for a movie or novel might be two lovers who hit it off on personality, but who come from different socio-economic classes so either their families or societies object to the relationship.

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9 Borjigid January 23, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Nah, audiences would never go for it. They only like stories where circumstances triumph over true love.

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10 Taeyoung January 23, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Re: Borjigid:
There’s nothing sexier than Ebenbürtigkeit. After, if there’s any power imbalance in the relationship due to differing socioeconomic status, that’s tantamount to rape!

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11 dan in philly January 23, 2018 at 1:49 pm

I wouldn’t call housing hypergamy. My understanding of the term means women will jump from one man to the next depending on perceived pecking order at the time. When you buy a house it’s a signal that you are not a player. You’re investing much of your resources into an asset designed for family and discouraging the dating of more than one women. When you nest you’re not likely to sleep around simply because you have a home to go to pretty much every night in which it’s hard to hide a girlfriend next to a wife. Women who are just looking for the guy who’s temporarily on top would care less about housing than clothes, cars, etc. A house is a sign of someone seeking a monogamous relationship.

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12 Thin-Skinned January 23, 2018 at 2:28 pm

Of course, but you have to admit as a headline, “Housing Hypergamy” sounds a whole lot snappier than “Housing & Intrasexual Competion”

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13 Anon January 23, 2018 at 10:25 pm

Yes, and at a more basic level, chicks just dig houses. They like decorating them and competing with each other for the biggest, prettiest house.

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14 dearieme January 23, 2018 at 3:19 pm

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in search of a wife will wish to own a bedroom.

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15 Philo January 23, 2018 at 5:55 pm

What is China’s immigration policy? Any chance they will partly make up for the dearth of young women through immigration?

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16 Mark Brophy January 25, 2018 at 6:13 am

North Korean women who manage to escape marry Chinese men but China isn’t smart enough to encourage NK women to emigrate.

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17 celestus January 23, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Chinese gender ratios are overexaggerated, fyi.

“The sex ratio for 10-year-olds in 2000 is similar to the SRB in 1990 at 111. However, the sex ratio drops to 103 for 20-year-olds in 2010, with an additional 4.8 million undercounted births (i.e. late registration) and over 900,000 more females than males.”

https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/0759987A48A37E3D2CFE157778747E33/S0305741016001132a.pdf/delayed_registration_and_identifying_the_missing_girls_in_china.pdf

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18 Bill January 23, 2018 at 7:40 pm

To solve this sexual imbalance

China should

Promote gay marriage.

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19 Jonathan January 24, 2018 at 4:07 am

NYT cognitive dissonance will also report how men are over represented in high paying jobs without connecting the two.

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20 fishydude January 24, 2018 at 9:48 am

For the record, the Chinese do not “buy homes” in China. They can only purchase a 70 year lease. All property is owned by the communist party.
The majority of condos (not homes) are not 3 story. Particularly in the cities. So that line is likely a load of crap.
My last trip, the company put me and my boss up in a small apartment with sort of 2 floors. The door jam on the second floor was only about 5’10” high. The ceiling was only 6’2″ high.
Most of the Chinese can’t afford much more than something like that.

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