Thursday, January 24, 2013

Economists vs. Philosophers: A Debate About What is Manly

I'm listening to Guns N' Roses pondering gender roles.  My wife told me about this new paper by Bertrand, Kamenica, and Pan .  I report their abstract below:

"We examine causes and consequences of relative income within households. We establish that
gender identity { in particular, an aversion to the wife earning more than the husband - impacts
marriage formation, wife's labor force participation, wife's income conditional on working, sat-
isfaction with the marriage and divorce, and the division of home production. The distribution
of the share of the household income earned by the wife suggests that a potential couple is less
willing to match if her income exceeds his. Within marriage markets, when a randomly chosen
woman becomes more likely to earn more than a randomly chosen man, marriage rates decline.
Within couples, if the wife's potential income (based on her demographics) is likely to exceed
the husband's, the wife is less likely to be in the labor force and earns less than her potential
if she does work. Couples where wife earns more than the husband are less satis ed with their
marriage and are more likely to divorce. Finally, based on time use surveys, the gender gap in
non-market work is larger if the wife earns more than the husband."

In contrast, here is what leading philosopher Eli Just has to say;

The Virtues of Bikes, Bourbon
and Rock N Roll

Blurring Gender Roles are Fine, Writer/Rocker Says, 
But Men Still Need to be Men
Does a real man stay at home with the kids while his wife goes to work? Is he OK if she earns more than him? Will he do the cooking – and like it?
Yes, yes and yes, says contemporary philosopher Eli Just, author of the popular supernatural adventure series that begins with “Manny Jones and the Place” (
“The ‘new masculinity’ – the new manly man – understands the value of blurring those old gender lines. And he’s also found the satisfaction and real pleasure that comes with some of those things,” Just says.
“But he balances that with some of the old old-school ideas about what it is to be a man. There’s still a lot to be said for the freedom of roaring along a highway on a motorcycle,  sipping  bourbon, and playing rock ‘n roll with your buddies in the garage.”
Just points to a poll of more than 87,000 men in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. AskMen’s Great Male Survey found that:
 94 percent would feel fine about their wife earning more than they do. (“That may just indicate we’re evolving,” Just says. “It doesn’t seem kind of stupid to be upset about a better lifestyle just because you’re not the one providing it!)
 78 percent say marriage potential is “very” or “somewhat” important in evaluating how they feel about the woman they’re dating. (“It’s nice to see we’re raising our standards,” Just says.)
 64 percent cook at home and like it – only 5 percent called cooking “woman’s work.” (“It stands to reason that if you’re wife is out making the big bucks, you better learn to cook or go hungry,” Just says.)
 50 percent say the ultimate manly man is a good husband and father. That beat out traditional “manly” virtues such as being good at fixing things (13 percent) and being a great lover (4 percent).
This new appreciation of men’s roles and responsibilities is great, Just says, but if guys want to remain attractive to the opposite sex, they need to retain some of their guy-liness.
“Men need to be open to adventure. They need to be courageous. And they need to lose those little skinny jeans and dress like men,” he says. “We’re already slipping on achievement – more women are getting college degrees than men. More women than men are breadwinners.
“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a woman. I love women. But men are not women and we shouldn’t try to be!”
What does he recommend for putting some muscle back into manhood?
• Find your sparkplugs. If you don’t know how to change your engine oil, you need to fix that. Take a class in basic automotive maintenance and repairs – they’re often offered at adult schools and community colleges. “There is nothing less appealing to a woman than a man who has no clue about what’s under the hood – especially when she’s broken down on the side of the highway,” Just says.
• Do a chin-up. A basic difference between men and women is upper body strength. If you’ve let yours go, you need to get it back. “Men should be strong,” Just says. “They should be able to punch the bad guy or open the pickle jar. Too many of us have let ourselves go. Believe me, your wife-to-be doesn’t want to be carrying YOU over the threshold!”
• Get over the video games. Men have gotten far too preoccupied with video games, Just says. “They’re playing in some fantasy world for hours at a time, getting pale, flabby and weird.” He suggests watching football. While many a wife and girlfriend complains about the time her guy spends watching sports, at least he talks to her during commercials, Just points out. They might even get out and throw a ball around. “You can’t do that with virtual cyber swords,” he says.
About Eli Just
Eli Just is the author of several books including the popular “Manny Jones” series and “The Eddy.” He has a master’s in history from Southeastern Louisiana University and is a self-taught student of physics, which he taught at the high school level. As a Christian, Just enjoys exploring themes involving physics and its relationship to religion. He lives in northern Georgia.