There is so much to love about The Atlantic’s article “The Myth of Wealthy Men and Beautiful Women.” It reports on a new study by University of Notre Dame sociologist Elizabeth McClintock which states that romantic pairings are more likely to be people who are closely matched in terms of compatibility and values than people who are exchanging one type of scarce resource for another (e.g. “wealth” for “beauty”).
Read the whole piece, because the way Atlantic writer James Hamblin gets to the conclusion is delightful — he invokes the Simpsons episode “Lisa’s Rival” and suggests that some of the scarce resources couples could swap might be “graduate degrees” and “marketable skills” — and make sure you read every single quote from his interview with Dr. McClintock:
“Women spend a lot more time trying to look good than men do. That creates a lot of mess in this data. If you don’t take that into account then you actually see there’s a lot of these guys who are partnered with women who are better looking than them, which is just because, on average, women are better looking.”
“If the guys are hot, too, then sure, they can get a hot girl.”
“It’s not just this trade of his money for her beauty, and he’s going to dump her as soon as she starts to get some wrinkles around her eyes.”
(And now, the question for y’all: is your romantic pairing based solely on compatibility and values, or did you take into account resource-swapping — even a little bit — when you built your partnership?)
Learn economics the fun and intuitive way with Josh Freedman at McSweeney’s: “Susan, we need to talk. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. About us. I really like you, but ever since we met in that econ class in college I knew there was something missing from how I felt: quantitative reasoning. We can say we love each other all we want, but I just can’t trust it without the data. And after performing an in-depth cost-benefit analysis of our relationship, I just don’t think this is working out.”