Arranged Marriages

Essay by farazhasanUniversity, Bachelor's August 2006

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Arranged Marriage

Chapter I


Arranged marriages have been around for quite a while. Not only has this form of marriage stood the test of time, even today in large parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, a significant proportion of all marriages are arranged. Consequently, social scientists of all stripes have sought to study the intricacies of arranged marriages. In fact, to commemorate 1994 as the international year of the family, the UNESCO commissioned a large study on the changing family in Asia (Atal, 1992). Arranged marriages received a considerable amount of attention in this study. This popularity of arranged marriages notwithstanding, economists have been interested in systematically analyzing marriages only since Becker (1973). Further, this interest has largely been restricted to the study of marriage in western societies in a deterministic setting. The fact that interpersonal communication processes in western "love" marriages are different from those used in arranged marriages is not in dispute.

However, beyond recognizing this simple fact, economists have contributed very little to our understanding of the nature of interpersonal communication in arranged marriages.

Given this state of affairs, this paper has three objectives. First, we formalize the traditional interpersonal communication process in arranged marriages. The reader should note that this formalization is an attempt to capture those aspects of interpersonal communication that are common to arranged marriages in many different parts of the world. Consequently, it is unlikely that our formalization will capture every aspect of interpersonal communication in a specific arranged marriage. Second, we analyze the properties of this interpersonal communication process from the perspective of a marrying agent. Finally, once again from the perspective of a marrying agent, we study the likelihood that the use of this interpersonal communication process will result in the agent finding the right partner for himself...