Also this explanation has to consider the higher value both genders are giving to 'bachelorness'. Without gender, as people and as individuals, since marriage is not occurrring and also, since the world is becoming more interconnected, then we are becoming more and more aware of who we are as individuals, what do we want to do and achieve (alone or accompanied), as well as we are becoming more aware of the world we are living in and how, when and where we would like to discover it. Being the result of failed marriages we have become aware of what freedom is and what we can do with it. Being single has increased it's value because we can live now without having to ask for permission or negotiate with someone else on what we want to be, do or have.


Looks like a Jezebel writer takes offense to this way of thinking.


The threshold for outrage over at Jezebel is very, very low.


The bit that was left out is that at the same time as all of these things were going on, women also have greater career opportunities etc. This means women are more independent and so are not so demanding in the marriage market. They will even seek commitment outside the marriage market because there are fewer risks of purchasing a lemon. Women are more independent. Extending the analysis including this poing means that men don't have so much choice in the marriage market and to marry still requires a high price. So female equality movements have lowered the market price of sex, but the market price of marriage might have gone up! This also leads to an increasing age of marriage, and fewer marriages. I would suggest that this is largely the reason, rather than saying that additional market power has gone to men.


The 1950s called, they want their archetype back. Only modest acknowledgement of age demography ("seasonality" in the context of a lifespan). Microtrends had a great chapter outlining the things men statistically do to take themselves out (of the market) e.g. die young from risky behaviors, work themselves to death, don't go to the doctor or otherwise take good care of themselves, etc. at a faster rate than women, such that older cohorts are increasingly skewed towards there being a surplus of women, whether the market be for casual, or committed sex. What about women closing the gap in earnings and financial independence (may still want a man, but no longer need one)? What about declining birthrates, and not having children becoming a more common choice for both genders? What about the dynamics of same sex couples, or singles? Also, men do not have a complete monopoly on horndogery.


The Austin Institute is not a real research institution -- it's an outlet for Mark Regnerus's New Family Structures Study "research". If you followed the DOMA or Prop 8 cases in the Supreme Court, you very likely heard about this. Regnerus's work has also come under fire in other forums:

Even if you don't believe me, notice how none of the data supporting the study are available on the Austin Institute's website. The website also fails to list the names of the researchers who organized or conducted the study.

So, at best, this is poorly conducted academic research; at worst, it's bigoted political propaganda masquerading as academic research. Either way, I would ask that Freakonomics please remove it from their blog, as posting it confers some legitimacy upon it.

Joseph N.

Actually, I saw that they had posted a resource guide with the video that includes links to all of the research that went into the film. Looks like a lot of heavy scholarship in there.


Come on real economists, don't post the video without your +/- critique.

At the least explain that the shortage of husband-material men is not because they died in wars, or but because so many young men have low-potential to even help support a family.

Women will date different guys than they would marry, and the supply of marriage quality men has dropped from every high school graduate, to only half the college graduates, who can afford a decent car decent housing & decent health care. Imagine how much worse the husband-potential is among guys who have been to jail, are disabled, or are long-term unemployed.


I hadn't seen that Resource Guide, which is a list of works cited and then a list of additional resources. Two of the six sources cited are Mark Regnerus. Also, someone still must take credit for the hypothesis advanced in the video. All scholarship cites other scholarship, but it also has authors.


yeah i find some of the assumptions made about women's motivation for sex or lack of motivation for casual sex to be kinda "ify".

I mean all things being equal, a man and women go home together, he is practically guarantied to get off, while the women doesn't have the same guarantee at best. the real question here is what kind of market forces came make men as a while in to more generous and skilled lovers?

but for real this really discounts,the drugs that have prolong female fertility, and women carrers. plus people just soooo long!!! you get married at 20 that 70 years together!!! 70!


Clownage, nonsense, etc. The premise is based on repression. Women enjoy sex as much as men, and simply don't feel the social stigma that they used to. Ta-da, that was easy.


While somewhat amusing, this clip very quickly degenerated into a quite thinly veiled "you should really marry. And not have sex without planning on getting married." As a previous poster noted; 'The 1950s called, they want their archetype back.'



This is a drastically oversimplified view of the historical marriage market and a deeply flawed look at the modern marriage market. The conclusions drawn from that oversimplification don't even make sense. I would also ask that Freakonomics remove it from the blog because not only is it offensive, it makes freakonomics look bad to be touting that kind of slipshod pseudoscience.


The characterizations are misleading and the framework which would make better sense of the assertions is lacking. It's like you know what they are trying to get at, which has some validity but they are doing it in such a wrong-headed and over-simplified way it's almost useless.

Men and women express their sexual desire differently on average within the framework of culture and technology changes things. Things are going to keep on changing. The new culture which results is not best understood in the framework of conceptions like 'traditional marriage' or 'traditional playboy' but in the re-alignment of far more basic elements.


Criticizing a 10 minute animation on the subject of human sexuality for being "oversimplified" is like criticizing a Scooby-Doo cartoon for plot holes.


I don't see any reason why even a very simple story can't be coherent. If your analogy is that both 'Scooby-Doo' and this animation are just bits of amusing fluff I'd agree but the problem is where 'Scooby-Doo' is not presented as anything but fluff this video pretends to make useful points. The "plot holes" in your analogy are directly contrary to the purpose - as if a 'Scooby-Doo" cartoon consisted of nothing but incoherent, unconnected scenes.


The point is that the complexity of the subject is such that no 10 minute presentation could ever provide a coherent and detailed analysis. By definition it is "oversimplified", just like by definition Scooby-Doo cartoons are fluff. Criticizing them for that is silly.

At most it can hope to be a launching point for more in depth discussion, allowing individuals to debate the merits of the generalizations presented. One can certainly take issue with each and every premise and poke holes in the conclusions built upon them.

But to conclude that it is "wrong" simply on the basis that it is oversimplified is invalid. Simplification has no bearing on validity. Instead you should attack the premises and conclusions that you believe to be false.


I agree with the other posters asking that this video be removed; I don't think it furthers productive discussion on relationships, economics, or gender issues in the least, and likely does harm to all three subjects. It's rare I see something that manages to portray men and women in such an equally negative light, and this is the only "success" of the video.

Head over to: for a discussion about working together as men and women to work on the problems of the world, not against each other.


There is a difference between oversimplified and simple. A piece can be simple for many reasons but that is not the case here. If the narrators had just mentioned that there were other forces acting on this market but they didn't have time to go into it, I would not be criticizing them for oversimplification. Instead they presented their arguments as if they were the only arguments. For example:
Portraying the historical prohibition against sex before marriage as just a means to not get pregnant is wrong. Humans (all animals in fact) have a biological impulse TO get pregnant. We fight that impulse because women want fathers that will stick around and fathers want to be certain the babies they are raising really are theirs. There are other reasons for getting married or not but on a comment forum, I lack the bandwidth to fully explain what is going on.

(See how easy that was?)

A 10 minute video can provide a launching pad for further discussion if a) it acknowledges that it cannot cover all the nuances and b) the conclusions within the video are valid. Some places where I found invalid conclusions:
Men initiate sex more (valid) so they must want sex more (invalid).
Women don't initiate sex as often (valid) so they must be determining when sex happens (iffy) so they have the power over sex (invalid).
Invention of the birth control pill was a disruptive innovation (arguable but we'll be generous and call it valid) and was the sole cause in the drop in marriage rates (totally invalid) and we should try to go back to the days of "price collusion" among females (horribly invalid).
There are more invalid conclusions but some have already been mentioned by other commenters and some will have to wait for real analysis to occur.