India markets in everything

Premarital investigations cost $200 to $400 and take seven to 10 days. Detectives follow the subject for 12 to 18 hours daily and chat up co-workers, domestic help and tradesmen under various pretexts. “Beware — your neighbor knows everything,” says Sanjay Singh, chief executive of New Delhi’s Indian Detective Agency. “Sometimes more than you know yourself.”

Particularly useful are fake marketing surveys. Enticed into participating with the promise of a free gift, sometimes something as modest as a bottle of shampoo, the subject or a neighbor may reveal a secret relationship or details of a would-be bride or groom’s late-night entertainment activities and smoking or drinking habits.

“People love freebies,” says Krishna Kumar, an Anapol Institute graduate. “Most fall for it hook, line and sinker.”

She worked at a computer company for four years before deciding detective work would be a lot more challenging. Women have a big advantage as sleuths because they’re non-threatening, can mingle better and are more intuitive, she says.

“I like doing premarital investigations best,” she says. “You’re watching someone go in a new direction, and your work could make or break their future.”

…Most premarital investigations are ordered by parents, although sometimes spouses-to-be want a little snooping done, including women keen to size up their prospective mothers-in-law in a society where it is common for couples to live with the husband’s extended family.

The story is here, and for the pointer I thank Vishal Ganesan.  Oh, and the results?:

According to detectives, investigations turn up significant problems in about 60% of cases. In about 10%, the discoveries are explosive enough — such as previously undisclosed marriages or serious hereditary diseases — to cause cancellation of the wedding.

For the caste-conscious, a hidden Dalit relative, or so-called untouchable, is also problematic. “Caste and dowries remain huge issues today, and people like to exaggerate,” says Sachit Kumar, director of Globe Detective Agency.

A factor driving premarital investigations is the growing number of cases in which foreigners of Indian descent marry and then disappear, often taking huge dowries with them. It happens to 30,000 brides every year in northern Punjab state alone, according to India’s National Commission for Women.

Comments

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Maybe we can replace all our vice squads with escort services and a tax to support the database management.

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Such detective agencies thrive in India since dating is still forbidden in most so-called "respectable" families. The parents and other elder members of the extended family usually arrange marriages. The boy and girl have no way to get to know each other well enough to avoid adverse selection problems and it is left to the elders to find the right match. I don't think the parents in western societies need such snooping services since the practice of dating minimizes problems of information asymmetry.

Um, have you tried online dating lately? While a small-town social context probably reduced the asymmetry historically; highly urban, mobile populations lead to much less information being exchanged in the dating process, through no fault of the participants.

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Wish I had done this before marrying my now-ex-wife....

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"According to detectives, investigations turn up significant problems in about 60% of cases."
hah, no kidding.. no self-interest problem here...

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Always check the stable door for the name of the sire and dam...

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MAN. THIS is what I needed all along. Instead of trying to weasel the low-down on editors out of literary agents, I should have outsourced to India. Get some charming Indian lady detective to sally forth with a consumer survey and offer of free shampoo. (Jack Daniels? Hey, it's cheaper than a 15% commission.)

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A factor driving premarital investigations is the growing number of cases in which foreigners of Indian descent marry and then disappear, often taking huge dowries with them.

Heh. Incentives matter.

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Nice Post.
I have read about that matter on other blog but not was even like that. :)
thanks for this helpful post.

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"the growing number of cases in which foreigners of Indian descent marry and then disappear, often taking huge dowries with them."

If any economists are looking for a study to do, estimate the value of an American Green Card on the Indian marital market (from the incremental size of dowries that holders of Green Cards earn).

Then, come up with a plan for how American taxpayers can capture some of that surplus.

Might have been a good idea about 15 years ago. I find that the spouse that marries into a green card is a lot more discriminating nowadays, anecdotes notwithstanding.

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I believe Gary Becker proposed something like that.

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I doubt value-estimation is your bottleneck here........

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Nice Post.
I have read about that matter on other blog but not was even like that. :)
thanks for this helpful post

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your blog is very nice because it's have good content and latest news so i am impress...

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