Marriage is Big Business – “Spousonomics” by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson
Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson are both economists. They’re also married ladies. Together, they created the blog (and wrote the corresponding book) “Spousonomics,” which attempts to apply the principles of economics to the non-science of marriage, and how events like changing jobs, gaining weight, having kids, and moving to a new home can alter what appeared to previously be a perfect (or at least decent) balance.
Using real couples as examples, Szuchmand and Anderson plot graphs and show charts to back up their explanations of heady concepts such as loss aversion, signaling, and moral hazard. There’s the art curator who decides to stay home after having a baby, only to realize she’s miserable being a stay-at-home mom. There’s the husband and wife who divide all household tasks equally, even though he hates walking the dog. There’s the wife who grows increasingly frustrated over her husbands habit of throwing his wet towel on her side of the bed, and seeks revenge by starting to throw HER wet towels on HIS side. There’s the husband who can’t understand why his wife heads off for a girls weekend in another state while he has to travel for work and has two sick children at home.
These may not seem like huge and earth-shattering things, but they can make or break a marriage.
Not giving much of a darn about economics, I admit to glossing over a few of the more intricate parts of the economic philosophy. However, the example cases are super interesting and enlightening and the authors wisely keep the focus on those. (Special applause to the authors for including a gay couple among their case studies. There are lots of wonderful couples in this world who do not consist of a man and a woman – whether their “marriage” is legally recognized or not. Me, stepping off my soap box.)
For those who loved “Freakonomics” or who simply want a different perspective on forces at work in marriage, this book is worth a read.