Love and Money
Catherine Rampell comes across a new working paper by researchers at the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern that suggests spendthrifts and tightwads have a tendency to marry one another. From the abstract:
“[T]ightwads,” who generally spend less than they would ideally like to spend, and “spendthrifts,” who generally spend more than they would ideally like to spend, tend to marry each other, consistent with the notion that people are attracted to mates who possess characteristics dissimilar to those they deplore in themselves. … In spite of this complementary attraction, spendthrift/tightwad differences within a marriage predict conflict over finances, which in turn predict diminished marital well-being.
I'm curious about those definitions. Someone who spends less than they would ideally like to spend does not sound like a tightwad so much as someone who does not have as much money as they'd ideally like to have. That said, the paper seems to base the definition on a more emotional measure: Whether people "feel a pain of paying," and whether they think the pain they feel is too much, or not enough.
The researchers make a point of noting that the observed behavior of coupling is very different from the expressed preferences of people who want to be in couples. We say we want people with similar emotional reactions to us. In fact, we are attracted to people with dissimilar emotions to us, at least when it comes to spending. Luckily, I'm immune from that accidental dissonance, because my unstoppable desire to spend more money than I should on restaurants gives me quick and reliable information on whether the people I date are tolerant and even enthusiastic about frivolousness.
Posted by: tomveiltomveil | August 12, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: halmin | August 12, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: csdiego | August 12, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: luko | August 12, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: constans | August 12, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rmgregory | August 12, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.