By Katie Engelhart - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 0 Comments
And An Economist’s Other Surprising Theories About Quirks Of The Heart
“Have you ever wondered if national well-being is higher in countries in which men have larger penises that in those in which men are less well-endowed?” That question opens economist Marina Adshade’s upcoming book, Dollars and Sex: How Economics Influences Sex and Love. (The answer: As average penis size increases, national income increases—but only for a while, at which point the reverse holds true. Adshade dubs this relationship the “boner curve.”) Comparing the “global penile length distribution map” to GDP is a bit of a gimmick, but Adshade’s broader point is “that almost every aspect of sex and love is better understood by thinking within an economic framework.”
Take this tidbit: shorter men have younger wives. Why? Adshade explains that women tend to value height in a potential mate—even when controlling for income. As a result, short men in their 30s are “significantly less likely to be either married or in a serious relationship.” Short men, then, are more likely to be single when they are older, by which point: a) they have proven their abilities as financial earners and b) their more alpine colleagues are already hitched. At that golden moment, they can take advantage of “a later-in-life marriage market that is populated with younger women who are less concerned with their husband’s physical appearance and more interested in his ability to provide a stable income.”
Here’s another: lesbians earn six to 13 per cent more than heterosexual women. Adshade says that’s because gender wage gaps don’t exist in homosexual unions, as they tend to in heterosexual unions. Lesbians might not expect to marry a higher-earner in the way that heterosexual women might. One study she cites shows that this encourages lesbians to invest more in skills that will give them a labour-market advantage. In the long run, this early investment pays off. The same effect is observed among obese women, who “recognize that they are less likely to marry, and if they do, they are likely to be married to men who have lower incomes.” They invest more in their “human capital,” one economist argues, than thinner women do.