Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Sunday, March 04, 2012

A Sorting Model of the Sexual Revolution

So let's spell out a model in which the sexual revolution had no significant negative impacts on women or children. I'll use largely the same assumptions as in my previous post, but add a few extra.

1. Assume that only a fraction of men and women are suitable for LTCRs (the rest are either not good at them or don't want them). Assume that among the women who aren't suitable for LTCRs, many want to raise children. Assume that children are better off with a single mother than with parents in an unsuitable LTCR. Assume that identifying someone who is unsuitable for an LTCR cannot be done with 100% certainty, but that accuracy increases as you get to know someone.

2. So what the sexual revolution achieved was a much more efficient sorting mechanism. Prior to the sexual revolution, unsuitable men entered LTCRs with women (who were possibly themselves unsuitable), often producing children who were greatly disadvantaged by this type of household. After the sexual revolution, you get many fewer unsuitable people in LTCRs, because their partners identify them and then break up. Children are increasingly raised in single-parent households (perhaps by mothers who are unsuitable for LTCRs, perhaps not), but they are better off than they would have been pre-sexual revolution. Women who want LTCRs can generally get them, though they may have to settle for ugly men. So what you get is maybe a re-alignment in which the beautiful people have a lot of sex and raise children outside of LTCRs, while the ugly people form LTCRs.

3. Of course, the sexual revolution also had its effects on men's patterns of sexual behavior, incentive to build a career, etc. So some men are worse off, some men are better off, women are mostly better off, and children are unambiguously better off.

So yeah, it's easy to come up with models in which the decline of marriage is a wonderful thing (in which case it is the rich people who are fucking up - what's the matter with Massachusetts?). I think you will find this more or less compelling depending on your predisposition to like or dislike the sexual revolution. The use of my original model may be to demonstrate that it is logically possible for an increase in women's freedom to make women worse off as a group. "Immiserating freedom" is a very real phenomenon, though perhaps not in this case.


Blogger Sarang said...

I do not want to claim that it's impossible to come up with a quasi-plausible model in which the sexual revolution is bad for women and children. I just do not think that, starting from the data, one is obviously pushed towards adopting such a model.

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