Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Explaining Adultery and Polygamy

Frances Wooley on the economics of adultery:

Adultery and Income Inequality

Why would any woman choose to have a relationship with married man?

If all men were equal, being a married man's mistress would never make economic sense: why share with another woman when you can have a man to yourself?

But if some men are vastly better off than others, a one-night stand with Tiger Woods starts looking like a reasonable proposition. Gary Becker quotes George Bernard Shaw to make this point: "the maternal instinct leads a woman to prefer a tenth share in a first rate man to the exclusive possession of a third rate." Becker's theory, like many others, predicts that highly unequal societies are more likely to be polygamous.

Why is this relevant to Malaysia? At over 40,we have the worst Gini coefficient measurement (which measures income inequality) in the East Asia region.

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