Marriage Markets and the Price of Masculinity

Book Review - Volume 94 - Issue 2

Professors Cahn’s and Carbon’s book Marriage Markets is a nuanced account of the ways coupling and family formation spur wealth inequality and therefore is a welcome addition to their family law corpus. Professor Rich reframes Marriage Markets using tools from economic theory and masculinity studies to surface the gender story within the class account provided in the book. She begins by documenting the emergence of the female marriage market consumer and the consequences of this development, and then considers whether marriage must change or masculinity must change in order to spur contemporary long term coupling in working class and poor communities. She argues that the key to incentivizing the female marriage market consumer to commit is by developing marriage models that minimize women’s economic risk, and maximize their access to economic resources in extended kinship networks. Once this change is made new structures and policy options emerge.

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