The Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture has posted a 10-minute "research animate" video that uses economics to explain how technology and "the pill" have left an indelible mark on romance and family formation.
"It’s a tough market out there for marriage-minded women," wrote Catherine Harmon on the Catholic World Report blog, regarding the project. "While women may be the 'gatekeepers' in the sexual economy — deciding when and under what circumstances sex will occur — it is men who remain securely in the driver’s seat in the marriage market. This dynamic is clearly and cleverly depicted in a new video released today by the Austin Institute, which studies family, sex and social structures."
The video is the first in a series of animated and easily understandable explanations the group will use to "connect compelling data with everyday life," the researchers said in a brochure released on Valentine's Day.
The video is also accompanied by a resource guide that branches into related topics, including out-of-wedlock childbearing, online dating and the gender imbalance in the mate-seeking market.
The video outlines differences in how men and women approach sex. In economic terms, the formation of relationships is a type of transaction, and supply and demand both play a role. But the market value of sex has been impacted by "technological shocks that dramatically alter markets." One of the biggest shocks was the introduction of contraception, according to the video.
There's an imbalance in the marketplace now, with more men than women looking for sex and more women than men looking for marriage, creating a real math problem. Additionally, "women no longer have each other's back. On the contrary, they are each other's competition."
The economics of sex is a hot topic and has been for years. It is the subject of books and class lessons, among other things.
For example: "Four years ago, Marina Adshade, an economics professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, struck upon an ingenious idea to get her students more excited about learning economics: She would use familiar subjects such as sex and love to teach them," according to a New Zealand Herald article by Gillian Orr.
"In fact, Adshade argues that almost every option, every decision and every outcome in matters of sex and love are better understood by thinking within an economic framework; the supply and demand of our intimate needs, if you will. Adshade proves, through a number of global studies, that our decisions in matters of sexual relationships are made with a firm grasp of economics, whether we realize it or not. Now she has compiled all the research into a new book, 'Dollars and Sex,' " the article reported.
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