There have been a number of stories in the news in the past year or so about the social and other implications of 'like marrying like'. In this case 'like' doesn't refer to cultural background or social class, as marrying within those groups has occurred for eons, but in the context of education and career achievement level.
The reasons why well-educated, high-achieving women tend to marry similarly well-educated, high-achieving men are obvious.
There is an op-ed essay by Judith Warner on this topic in the New York Times today.
"Some economists worry that the concentration of income in high-achieving two-earner homes is aggravating the wealth gap."
I can see how assortative mating of high-income people might have economic implications, but isn't this a second order effect compared to the phenomenon of significant numbers of women having high-paying jobs and high-achieving careers for the first time in history? My knowledge of economics is quite low, but I would be surprised if assortative mating has a more significant effect on the gap between rich and poor than do the regressive economic policies of the current administration in Washington DC.
Where I have trouble following the thread of the discussion about the negative implications of assortative mating is when I read statements like these (also from the op-ed article):
"Some evolutionary psychologists say that pumping up certain kids' genes for intelligence will increase the achievement gap (by creating supersmart kids)..."
".. assortative mating among people with great skills in understanding and building systems, like engineers and economists, may be linked to the greater number of autistic children." (and not just autism, but also bipolar disorder and anorexia)
I am of course quite willing to believe that a college education does great things for one's mind and intellectual abilities, but surely there have always been smart women, even if undereducated and underrepresented in certain careers? For the quotation above to be valid, marriages between very intelligent women and much less intelligent men must once have been very common, and this must have been a good thing for the gene pool; the term "hybrid vigor" is mentioned in the NYT article -- what a repugnant phrase when applied to humans. Clearly, less-educated women used to marry better-educated men, but is that a rigorous indicator of "hybrid vigor"?
Is anyone keeping a list of how many of society's ills are the result of women having increased educational and career opportunities?
9 years ago