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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

War of the Sexes: Part 8 - In Defense of Non-Monogamy

There are several things to consider when humans choose their own monogamous partners. One of those is assortative mating:
Assortative mating is a nonrandom mating pattern in which individuals with similar genotypes and/or phenotypes mate with one another more frequently than would be expected under a random mating pattern.
Assortative mating almost certainly happens:
The old saw notwithstanding, opposites do not really attract when it comes to love and marriage. Likes attract. In one of the classic papers, originally published in 1943, two sociologists studied 1,000 engaged couples in Chicago, expecting to find at least some traits in which opposites did indeed attract. But out of fifty-one social characteristics studied, the sign of the correlation was positive for every single one. For all but six of the fifty-one traits, the correlations were statistically significant. [...] 
Of the many correlations involving husbands and wives, one of the highest is for IQ. [...]
Christine Schwartz and Robert Mare examined trends in "assortative marriage," ... from 1940 to 2003. They found that homogamy has increased at both ends of the educational scale -- college graduates grew more likely to marry college graduates and high school dropouts grew more likely to marry other high school dropouts. [...]
In 1960, just 3 percent of American couples both had a college degree. By 2010, that proportion stood at 25 percent. The change was so large that it was a major contributor to the creation of a new class all by itself. [...] 
Bit increased educational homogamy ... inevitably means increased cognitive homogamy.
I'd like to go beyond just considering cognition though. Imagine all successful people across all human endeavors. Leave out those that are successful overwhelmingly due to luck. Consider all positive traits that are more common among those successful people than the general population. Those traits no doubt have at least some intersection with cognition and the "fifty-one social characteristics" above and might include things like perseverance, impulse control, drive, learning ability, creativity, curiosity, ability to work in teams, leadership, followership, etc.

Let's call that suffectiveness. Suffectiveness is a combination of "success" and "effectiveness" or those human traits that are generally effective towards achieving success given the current state of civilization. It ignores specific characteristics that are useful in specialized endeavors. Ability to play brass instruments would be an example of a characteristic which is good but not part of suffectiveness.

If mating were completely random, the distribution of suffectiveness would likely resemble a bell curve. If suffectiveness is at least partly heritable and if assortative mating occurs to some extent (which it does), the distribution of suffectiveness would change.

Is suffectiveness heritable? To some extent, very likely. For example, IQ is likely at least partly related to one of the sub-traits of suffectiveness and IQ is very likely at least partly heritable:
The general figure for heritability of IQ is about 0.5 across multiple studies in varying populations.
I decided to do some modeling. There's no way to completely accurately model the suffectiveness of a human population, so I made some simplifying and extreme assumptions.  The model population is 100,000 for each generation, with each female having exactly two children. Each individual has 23 pairs of chromosomes, coincidentally the same number of chromosomes that humans have. On each chromosome, there are arbitrarily 12 gene complexes that add to the suffectiveness of the individual if present. The total suffectiveness of the individual's genotype is the sum of all present suffective gene complexes across all of the chromosomes.  I'm not considering dominant and recessive genes for this model. Since there are 46 chromosomes (23 pairs), and 12 gene complexes per chromosome, there can be a maximum of 552 suffective gene complexes present.

Each individual is able to exactly tell the suffectiveness of another individual just by observation, except that a small random amount of suffectiveness is added to the sum of the suffective gene complexes. The small random amount for these trials had a mean of zero and a variance of 2.76 gene complexes. This was added mostly to keep the curves smooth but the original reason was to keep the sorting from be too rigid and to provide a distinction between genotype and phenotype. I call the total suffectiveness including the random addition the phenotype suffectiveness.

The first model is an assortative monogamous mating model. Each generation is sorted by phenotype suffectivness. One of each of the 23 alleles is taken whole (no chromosomal crossover) from each paired male and female when generating the chromosomes for the offspring. The following graphs show the phenotype suffectiveness for generations 1 (the original), 2, 3, 9, 33, 129, and 257.

Assortative Mating - Original Distribution

Assortative Mating - Generation 2 Distribution

Assortative Mating - Generation 3 Distribution

Assortative Mating - Generation 9 Distribution

Assortative Mating - Generation 33 Distribution

Assortative Mating - Generation 129 Distribution

Assortative Mating - Generation 259 Distribution
The variance of suffectiveness increases each generation, though it changes little after about the 100th generation as this seems to be the point where the distribution of chromosomes can't be improved upon without chromosomal crossover.

In the model above, no chromosomal crossover was allowed. In other words, alleles were never allowed to be formed by mixing any of the gene complexes. In real life, some crossover does take place. In the second model, I allowed an extreme version of chromosomal crossover, where any of the suffective gene complexes were randomly allowed to crossover intact.
The results did not differ noticeably for about 30 generations, where the changes in distribution from selection of entire chromosomes was such a large factor that crossover had relatively little effect. After the 30th generation or so, the differences relative to the first model became more apparent. The following graphs show the suffectiveness for generations 33, 129, and 257, 513, and 1025.

Assortative Mating with Crossover - Generation 33 Distribution

Assortative Mating with Crossover - Generation 129 Distribution

Assortative Mating with Crossover - Generation 257 Distribution

Assortative Mating with Crossover - Generation 513 Distribution

Assortative Mating with Crossover - Generation 1025 Distribution
Chromosomal crossover enables further concentration of the suffective gene complexes (and lack thereof) leading to an even wider variance and more extreme distribution of suffectiveness. Perhaps in enough generations, these two extremes will resemble H.G. Wells' Morlocks and Eloi?

The two models above were monogamous mating models. Even without the genetic drift shown by the models, assortative monogamy still leads to inequality. Even with wealth redistribution, there will still be a radical inequality of suffectiveness per household. At one end, Ph.D.'s marry Ph.D.'s, at the other end, unemployed sewer workers marry part-time barmaids. Not that there's anything wrong with sewer workers and barmaids, but the point is that the two households will have nothing in common and will hardly even be able to talk to each other. It will likely only get worse over time even with no genetic component. I believe that this sort of inequality will be both an inherent feature of monogamy going forward and that this inequality is far more destabilizing than mere wealth inequality.

Many societies in the past and present are not monogamous and as I've pointed out in other posts, monogamy is becoming less popular now in the United States (and the rest of the world) as well. Monogamy has many good points and was, in my opinion, very likely necessary for civilization to have made it this far. But here we are, and it's not clear to me that it makes sense going forward because it will inherently lead to a particularly destabilizing sort of inequality.

Lets' go back to models. This next model models female hypergamy, which, for the purposes of this post is defined as the natural desire for females to mate with someone of higher status, perhaps or hopefully much higher status. It's debatable to what extent that desire is present in human females, but that's the assumption for the next model.

This model is just like the first model except that only the top fifth of suffective males are used to generate the next generation of offspring. In the first model, each male and female had two children. In this model, each female still has two children. However, each of the top 20% most suffective males has ten children, two with each of five females.

In the graphs from the previous two models, the axes were identical. For this model, the Y-axis expands as the distribution narrows. The following graphs show the suffectiveness for generations 1, 2, 3, 9, 33, and 129 from the female hypergamy model.

Hypergamy - Generation 1 (Original)  Distribution

Hypergamy - Generation 2 Distribution
Note that by the 2nd generation (1st iteration), there is already a significant shift of suffectiveness in the positive direction.

Hypergamy - Generation 3 Distribution

Hypergamy - Generation 9 Distribution

Hypergamy - Generation 33 Distribution

Hypergamy - Generation 129 Distribution
The genetic distribution of suffectiveness moves rapidly in the positive direction every generation until it maxes out what the genome can support without mutations (after about the hundredth generation, there's not much change). Note that these results are without chromosomal crossover. With crossover, the results are pretty much the same, they just happen faster and are even more extreme.

As I mentioned before presenting these models, there are many simplifying and extreme assumptions incorporated into the models. The point is not that the above is a reflection of reality, or to the extent it is a reflection, it's a very, very distorted one. The point of modeling is to get an idea of how potential factors might affect the trajectory of society.

Each person interprets the ideas and information available differently. My interpretation is that monogamy will probably lead to a more unequal society over time and that the particular type of inequality (inequality of suffectiveness and status) will be destabilizing and may more than cancel out the advantages of monogamy, and that women seeking out much higher status males to get them pregnant may not be such a bad thing if we can survive a few generations of that, especially if the other 80% of men are happy to go their own way each generation and play video games and watch porn.

36 comments:

Bret said...

On the rare chance anyone wants to punish themselves by playing with the matlab code that was used for the models, it's here.

erp said...

Is this the future?

Bret, I'm not so sure that the Ph.D. couple and the sewer worker/part-time barmaid couple will have nothing to talk about unless one or the other of them is an insufferable snob. I'll leave it to the reader to decide which one of them it's more likely to be.

If they found themselves thrown together, they could chat about sports, politics, religion, child care, cooking ...

You'd be surprised how much people with little formal education know about a lot of things your Ph.D.’s might know nothing about.

Here’s an example: My father-in-law only went to the 3rd grade, but he was able without the benefit of pencil or paper calculate much more accurately than the multi-degreed engineers with their modern equipment the materials needed for complex operations. His take on the boy geniuses who were quite skeptical about his positions until he outperformed them consistently was very amusing. Of course, in today’s world people like him couldn’t rise to that kind of a position and it’s too bad.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

Congratulations, it is one of the most provocative posts I've read here.

You just did not call it by its name, but yours is a Matlab updated defense of Eugenics.

If we are to cross that line, better to bring your best game: instead of waiting 100 generations (what's that, 4000 years?), we forget about this démodé thing about alphas and go directly to genetic manipulation of zygotes.

Then just about everyone can go their own way, society ends up super-suffective and we are happy ever after. What could go possibly wrong?

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "but yours is a Matlab updated defense of Eugenics ... What could go possibly wrong [the holocaust]?"

LOL!

If some musings and modeling about how currently existing trends away from monogamy and men going their own way might not be so bad make me a defender of Eugenics, then hey, I'm a Eugenicist. Cool! I've been called a lot things and it wasn't clear I'd ever be able to check that particular box. I feel much more complete now. :-)

But what made me laugh was the realization that if a progressive (well, one with a wide audience anyway) wrote this post, it might be worrisome because they'd be all hot to use the full force and authority of government to implement and enforce policies to usher in a new utopian vision based on forcing new breeding behaviors. On the other hand, little ole libertarian me? Not so much.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

I guess it all depends on which lessons you draw from the Shoah.

To me, it shows how things can go once you measure the human experience only by its suffectiveness. The state controlled society was a tool for that vision, not the other way around.

Modern eugenicists tell us that:

"[...] the change from state-led reproductive-genetic decision-making to individual choice has moderated the worst abuses of eugenics by transferring the decision-making from the state to the patient and their family."


And also "that advances in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are moving society to a "new era of eugenics", and that, unlike the Nazi eugenics, modern eugenics is consumer driven and market based".

See, consumer driven and market based (Free Markets!), so nothing can go wrong with that, we are told. Looks like a message very close to the heart of Libertarians, doesn't it?

Maybe I'll live long enough to witness what a new version of a society engineered for suffectiveness will deliver.

Peter said...

1. If a woman prizes "suffectiveness" above all, especially as you define it, why would she even want children?

2. As you have made no reference whatsoever to what is best for children, can we assume their interests should take a back seat to promoting adult suffectiveness?

3. In what sense could it be said that a man who voluntarily saddles himself with child support obligations to five women in respect of ten children is "suffective"? Sounds like the very definition of reckless stupidity to me and a recipe for downward mobility.

4. Would you agree your model assumes single parenthood or at least revolving fatherhood with all or most childcare responsibilities left to the woman? That's has worked so well in the general population I'm sure it will promote suffectiveness in the higher orders.

5. And, of course, these suffective mothers will be completely reasonable and fair to other suffective mothers respecting the time, money and estates of their common suffective fathers?

This strikes me more as a model for breeding dogs than raising children. In fact one of your opening flaws is to even use the verb breeding.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

If you want to see why a "free market" in eugenics is far less likely to lead to a bad result than the state sponsored version, look up "monoculture" and ask yourself which of these leads to that.

Peter;

You didn't even hit him ignoring the social instability of 80% of males not being involved in any family activity. That seems to be a top level "particularly destabilizing sort of inequality".

As for PhDs not mixing with non-PhDs, speaking as someone in a dual PhD household who hangs out mostly with non-PhDs (e.g., somewhat employed handy man) I don't see it as an intrinsic problem, but an epi-phenomenon of living in a Blue Hell.

Peter said...

AOG:

I was going to, but I figured Bret would just come back and tell me about all the new entrepreneurial and employment opportunities his vision offers for the 80% as security guards and childcare workers. Actually, like Clovis, I'm in awe about how Bret has managed to turn a harbinger of civilizational collapse into an exciting vision of personal growth and development for the beautiful people and improvement of the species. It's a bit like being in late Ancient Rome and hearing someone wax eloquently about the personal freedom, profit and employment-creating advantages of orgies.

I was going to write a lengthy critique on why secular libertarianism is a poor foundation for analyzing family and child issues, but then I realized the problem isn't really Bret's materialist libertarianism. The problem is that Bret is from California. What do they put in the water out there? :-)

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "See, consumer driven and market based (Free Markets!), so nothing can go wrong with that ... "

Uh huh.

And what would you propose that the government do to prevent this "free market" of "eugenics" from running its course? Mandatory marriage? Marriage by lottery? What?

Clovis e Adri said...

Peter & AOG

Part of the weaknesses you point out are more directed to the idealization necessary for modelling than to his conclusions. Selective mating over many generations can well lead to the effect he points out, moving up the median of the suffectiveness, even if many assumptions he makes are invalid.


What is interesting to address is how effective that would be in practice. You are only rich as a billionaire because few people have a billion dollars. Give a billion dollars for half of the country, and you are just one more average guy, your billions giving you no advantadge.

Suffectiveness may well suffer such inflationary effects too. In Bret's model, not only the median increases but the variance decreases too, making people ever more equal.

So you end up with a world where everyone is smart, hardworker, industrious, etc, but that wouldn't translate in those people "achieving more" (since to achieve is usually a relative thing). Everyone would look like just so average and boring that females would hardly recognize who are those 20% males qualified to mate.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
And what would you propose that the government do to prevent this "free market" of "eugenics" from running its course? Mandatory marriage? Marriage by lottery? What?
---
Oh, that's easy: identificaton and extermination of anyone breaching the non-eugenics ban.

So that way only a tiny and well connected elite can keep it to themselves.

See, I know how to play a good totalitarian lord, after all, I am a progressive, right?

Bret said...

Peter wrote: "If a woman prizes "suffectiveness" above all, especially as you define it, why would she even want children?"

I don't recall writing that women would value suffectiveness "above all" and if I did, that was a mistake. But even if I did, I'm not sure why valuing suffectiveness would make her not want children.

Peter wrote: "...can we assume [childrens'] interests should take a back seat to promoting adult suffectiveness?"

Childrens' interests take a back seat to lots of things, but, just like now, I imagine that will continue to be up to their parent or parents and hopefully not the government except in extreme cases where CPS will need to intervene, again, just like now. Note that I'm NOT proposing any policy change regarding this (and very little else, either).

Peter wrote: "In what sense could it be said that a man who voluntarily saddles himself with child support obligations to five women in respect of ten children is "suffective"?"

That's an interesting question.

First, an aside. I've mentioned the 72.3% black illegitimacy (oops, I mean out-of-wedlock birth) rate, but for poor whites and hispanics, the rate seems to be nearly identical as blacks (not a big surprise since skin color would have little to do with this sort of thing). So it's a thing of the poor, not just poor blacks.

Among poor communities, we have women having children with the highest suffective lotharios that are willing to father their children. The highest suffective men willing to father the children are jobless and penniless. For them, there's no "reckless stupidity" in that they can't be made poorer by fathering children.

Among less poor communities, single women are turning to sperm banks in increasing numbers. Some of the donors end up fathering 10+ children anonymously. They also are not recklessly stupid since they're anonymous.

My question is why anonymous donors and penniless paupers should be given such a huge advantage in the fathering game. Perhaps that playing field ought to be leveled via some sort of private enforceable contract. In other words, if the taxpayer is going to stuck paying anyway, why not expand the single woman's choice?

Peter wrote: "Would you agree your model assumes single parenthood...?"

Yes. That's kinda how it's trending and I don't see it changing nor do I think policy changes can address this.

Peter wrote: "...money and estates..."

Get your head outta the clouds, man! :-)

There's no money and estates of significance associated with the vast majority of the folks in question.

Peter wrote: "In fact one of your opening flaws is to even use the verb breeding."

The word breed(ing) does not appear in any of my posts.

Peter wrote: "... model for breeding dogs...

It's a question of actor. People breed dogs. People "breed" themselves and are not "bred" by other entites and hopefully not the government either.

Bret said...

aog wrote: "You didn't even hit him ignoring the social instability of 80% of males..."

I've mentioned this in other posts in the series. In earlier times, I believe this would have been catastrophic. With immersive entertainment, I have a hunch the 80% (or 50% or 76.2347% or whatever) will be sufficiently docile to not cause trouble. They WON'T be available to be particular productive or defend society so that might be a problem.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "...since to achieve is usually a relative thing..."

LOL! Only to a progressive!

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "Everyone would look like just so average and boring that females would hardly recognize who are those 20% males qualified to mate.

If the distribution is so narrow, then it doesn't matter.

For example if after "Hypergamy - Generation 129 Distribution," I switch to random mating, the distribution changes little.

But then you'll have your much sought after equality! Finally! Yay! :-)

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
In other words, if the taxpayer is going to stuck paying anyway, why not expand the single woman's choice?
---
LOL. How is it gonna play?

"Hey, I've paid too much taxes this year, now I want four of those female poor women to mate! Give me it here!"

---
Only to a progressive!
---
Ah yeah?

So if fifty Bret-like smart people open up a company for farmer Robots next week, and yours go broke by that competition next month, I wonder how much achieving you'll have done with your precious genetic traits.

You don't need to be a progressive so see that, only a materialist - which you are.


---
But then you'll have your much sought after equality! Finally! Yay!
---
I remember to be defending here lower-bounded inequality. That's really not the same. I like diversity, even more of the genetic kind. And I guess evolution backs me up on this one.

Bret said...

Clovis,

So which is it?

"Give a billion dollars [to] half of the country..."

or

"and yours go broke by that competition next month..."

Did I make a billion dollars or did I go broke?

In the first case, I achieved something of value ("a billion dollars") which has an absolute versus relative value in that I can buy lots and lots of stuff, travel all over the place, invest in lots of interests and hobbies, etc.

In the second case, I achieved nothing because I went broke. Not relatively broke, but plain old absolutely broke.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
So which is it? Did I make a billion dollars or did I go broke?
---

Which is it? They are both sides of the same coin.

If everyone gets 1 billion, that's in no way "absolute versus relative", money is only relative - no, you can't buy lots and lots of stuff, because very soon they all will cost millions.

Likewise, if suddenly almost everyone in the population can sit down and build farmer robots, what's the value of your company? You are again so average and can't offer much.

It is simple: if everyone is an alpha, no one is an alpha.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I guess evolution backs me up on this one."

Yes and no. Within a species, I don't think survival-of-the-fittest increases genetic diversity. The least fit (least suffective?) get eaten or otherwise die prior to reproducing.

By the way, the reason I used suffective instead of fit was that nearly all humans reach the age of reproduction, so I needed a different term than "fit."

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "If everyone gets 1 billion, that's in no way "absolute versus relative", money is only relative"

So your saying there is also inflation? Then nobody is getting a billion dollars in today's terms, those are nominal dollars and your argument makes no sense.

So you're apparently a fixed pie kinda guy. In other words, no matter how productive we all become, we'll never be able to produce anything more?

Annoying Old Guy said...

Bret;

why anonymous donors and penniless paupers should be given such a huge advantage in the fathering game. Perhaps that playing field ought to be leveled via some sort of private enforceable contract.

I was unable to figure out what you meant by the policy implications of this. What kind of contract, what would it cover?

P.S.

you end up with a world where everyone is smart, hardworker, industrious, etc,

The horror, the horror! (Again, only to a progresive :-))

Bret said...

aog wrote: "I was unable to figure out what you meant by the policy implications of this."

I really don't know. There's too many different motivators that I simply don't understand much. For example, even though I read about and see the statistics, for the life of me, I can't relate to a poor woman having multiple children with multiple different men. So I have no idea how to craft overall policy.

aog wrote: "What kind of contract, what would it cover?"

Well, with the caveats above and just throwing out random ideas...

I think that society via government is going to keep children fed, clothed, and housed no matter what. So one thing I'd consider is to not have paternity suits. On the one hand, that sounds nuts even to me, but on the other hand the guys who are fathering the poor women's children aren't sue-able since they have no income or assets, so it would level the playing field. Some (I think many) guys would want to be involved in children's upbringings so they would also contribute voluntarily.

Instead of woman and State initiated paternity suits, I was thinking more detailed contracts (pre-nups minus the nups part?) between a woman and man regarding supporting a child. For example, the man might agree to provide $20K per year for 18 years for child support. On the one hand, I know that "love" doesn't exactly work like that, but on the other hand, single women are going to sperm banks for anonymous donors and I didn't think "love" worked like that either. :-) I think contracts like that are starting to be explored in Europe. For maybe a subset of the population who can mix love/attraction with hard, cold negotiation, it might work.

A super stud might negotiate a payment from a woman to father her child, a lower status male might pay the woman a substantial fee in addition to child support. Each contract would be negotiable. Maybe. Or something like that. For some people. Sometime in the future. If you use your imagination. Or not. Or something else. Beats me.

Ultimately, I imagine there would evolve many private and State solutions/options developed that could support most people's needs within the realm of their abilities.

Annoying Old Guy said...

The problem here is that you've inaccurately ascribed the evolutionary analysis to the actual decision making process. I suspect that most (if not almost all) poor women engaging in thie reproductive strategy have no idea that they are. Instead they are just doing whatever and most likely not consciously (although perhaps instinctively) making any surfectiveness judgments. In that case a contract option available is unlikely to be used.

This is a big reason I don't find your analysis very persuasive because for most people mating and reproduction is rather random.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Within a species, I don't think survival-of-the-fittest increases genetic diversity. The least fit (least suffective?) get eaten or otherwise die prior to reproducing.
---
Not that simple. You are not only reducing variance for suffectiveness in your simulation, you are reducing variance for the whole genetic spectrum.

Nature is not subtle, but it is malicious. That restriction of genetic variance for suffectiveness purposes may well backfire in other ways.

Look to dogs. Some of those races selectively "enhanced" present higher rates of cancer and other problems.

Maybe we can counter that with technological developments too, but you restricted yourself to "natural eugenics", and playing by those rules I am not sure decreasing diversity is such a good idea.


---
So your saying there is also inflation? Then nobody is getting a billion dollars in today's terms, those are nominal dollars and your argument makes no sense.
---
Surely. I do think may argument makes complete sense, for it was all about renormalization of the quantities involved.

---
So you're apparently a fixed pie kinda guy. In other words, no matter how productive we all become, we'll never be able to produce anything more?
---
No, that's not the argument. The argument it that no matter how productive we all become, returns will diminish as you increase productivity by that way.

You may end up with very hard working smart people, but they may end up less motivated to put in their efforts.

They also would be less motivated with life itself and suicide rates will also increase. [OK, now I am in "wild guess mode", but so you are :-)]

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I do think my argument makes complete sense..."

It doesn't make sense to me because the number ("billion") was apparently picked arbitrarily.

Would your scenario differ any from the following? Tomorrow, the fed issues "new" dollars and there are one-million new dollars per old dollar. Suddenly, everybody makes more than 1 billion new dollars a year but prices are also 1 million times as expensive.

What you're describing makes no sense to me because even without enhanced genetypes and phenotypes, we're still increasing wealth at an impressive clip. So we're all going to get more productive but produce even less? That sounds like a fixed or shrinking pie argument to me.

Bret said...

aog wrote: "...for most people mating and reproduction is rather random."

While not much is solid in this realm, I think non-random assortative mating is pretty well documented at this point.

aog wrote: "In that case a contract option available is unlikely to be used."

That may well be right and for sure I agree that "a contract option available is unlikely to be used" tomorrow. Over time though, custom may move to something like that.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Assortative mating can be random if people simply mate randomly with people they meet if the source social circles are restricted as well. In CA, where apparently PhDs do not mix with non-PhDs, you'd get random and assortative mating that way quite easily.

erp said...

These posts and comments have been very entertaining and aog's last comment has me lol.

Bret said...

More from the Economist:

"Intellectual capital drives the knowledge economy, so those who have lots of it get a fat slice of the pie. And it is increasingly heritable. Far more than in previous generations, clever, successful men marry clever, successful women. Such “assortative mating” increases inequality by 25%, by one estimate, since two-degree households typically enjoy two large incomes. Power couples conceive bright children and bring them up in stable homes—only 9% of college-educated mothers who give birth each year are unmarried, compared with 61% of high-school dropouts. They stimulate them relentlessly: children of professionals hear 32m more words by the age of four than those of parents on welfare. They move to pricey neighbourhoods with good schools, spend a packet on flute lessons and pull strings to get junior into a top-notch college."

erp said...

Agreed, but where did it all come from? Every bit of wealth, material or intellectual, came from the brow and/or back of the pioneer, the family patriarch, matriarch really, but they get all the credit.

Bret, what's your point here?

Bret said...

No point. Just adding a link to something relevant. It wasn't available when I wrote the post.

erp said...

I'm glad you did because I've been thinking about the movie, "The Imitation Game*," and a scene which brought back very unpleasant memories to me. If you haven’t seen the movie, Turing designs a difficult crossword puzzle which is published in the newspapers and asks anyone who’s able to solve the puzzle to show up for an important job interview and gives the time and place.

The job is working on the team that’s trying to break the code. As men show up, they’re admitted – no questions asked and given another test puzzle. When a girl shows, she’s asked if anyone helped her with the puzzle. The director staged the incident correctly and the girl didn’t blow her top, but boy that kind of thing was infuriating! Showing yourself smarter than or at least as smart as the boys mattered not and the matter is dismissed as a <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/one-trick%20pony”>one-trick-pony</a>. It was a tedious process educating them.

The women on the team weren’t allowed to be housed with the men because of propriety. They were housed separately with the clerical and domestic help and had to pretend they were part of that cohort.

You are wondering what this has to do with your quote above?

I just learned there’s a BBC series called “The Bletchley Circle” which is a fictional account of four of the women on the Enigma Project who get together to solve crimes and because they didn’t benefit by their contribution to one of the greatest tests of brain power in our time as did their distinguished male colleagues, they go back to domesticity with not altogether happy results. They have been sworn to secrecy and can’t tell their husbands about their past life either, so they start using their code breaking skills solving crime like latter day Miss Marple’s.

My point here is: like didn’t find like. Your quote is written from the male vantage and men don’t look for code breaking talent when choosing a mate. Very bright women even very pretty ones usually marry mediocre men and thus there is somewhat of a mix and match of brains and beauty and the human race continues in its infinite variety.

*About Alan Turing and breaking the Nazi code

Bret said...

More on assortative mating:

"A collective marriage matching model is estimated and calibrated to quantify the share of returns to schooling that is realized through marriage. The predictions of the model are matched with detailed Danish household data on the relationship between schooling and wage rates, the division of time and goods within the household, and the extent to which men and women sort positively on several traits in marriage. Counterfactual analysis conducted with the model suggests that Danish men and women are earning on the order of half of their returns to schooling through improved marital outcomes."

I interpret that to mean that it's as important to go to college (and to the best college possible) to marry someone as rich as possible as it is to get an education.

erp said...

Bret, I'm glad you interpreted the quote as it's meaning is quite incomprehensible to me. Although to be honest I don't see where you got your interpretation either.

BTW - are "improved marital outcomes" more opportunities for marriage or happier marriages or marriages with more material goods, or .... ?

It's sounds like GIGO (Garbage In Gibberish Out) to me.

erp said...

... er, that's "its meaning" ...

Alas, senior moments are getting more and more frequent.

Bret said...

erp,

If accidentally typing an extra apostrophe is all one has to worry about regarding "senior moments," then I'm feeling great relief. Except, er, I do that all the time now, and have for decades, so I guess my senior moments started when I was about 8. :-)