Gary Becker was right you know.
So, on the Turkish, Syrian border, where’s there’s a lot more Syrian women as refugees than there are men, Turkish men are taking second, third and even fourth wives (allowed in Islam, of course, but not a legal marriage in Turkish law). A surplus of women leads to polygamy, just as polyandry happens where there is a shortage (although rare, polyandry does indeed happen).
So, what to do about it?
The women’s rights activist explains a worrying trend: “Local women are anxious. The constant fear of losing their husbands puts a lot of pressure on them. Domestic violence, threats, psychological pressure and abuse from their spouses have increased. We notice a rise in mental illness, especially depression, but the topic is not being addressed by the authorities.”
She says her organisation tries to assist Turkish and Syrian women: “We do house visits where we discuss this issue with the women here. We try to convince them to put the blame where it belongs. In order to counter this male opportunism, women from both sides of the border need to stick together.”
Quite: all as standard game theory would suggest. Cooperate to increase the power of those in surplus: but you’ve always got the problem of what to do about the defectors. You can get to this purely from the standard prisoner’s dilemma example.
Gary Becker really was right, marriage really is a market governed by the same rules as others.