Causes and Consequences
A coworker (he was a med student at the time. I was divorced) told the young ladies who questioned us about preferences that if you spend much time with a woman sooner or later you have to talk to her, and intelligent women are way more fun (and easier) to talk to than less intelligent women.
consider the idea that the bell curve for women is slightly narrower than for men. I believe this is true, at least for IQ, and probably for a number of other attributes. In a world of assortative mating, one implication of the difference in the width of the bell curves is that couples at the bottom will tend to have the woman be slightly smarter than the man, and couples at the top will tend to be the opposite.
I am not so sure that assortative mating has increased.
The main piece of evidence in favor of stability of AM is Greg Clark’s work: he finds that AM is very strong but that it has been stable over time in the long run, with some differences between countries but not very large, and it is as prevalent at the bottom as it is at the top of the social scale.
The Bell curve correctly identifies AM as an important factor in social outcomes, but the authors are cautious regarding its trend. They write “Intermarriage among people in the top few percentiles of intelligence *may* be increasing far more rapidly than suspected” and they don’t give any details. In recent interviews, Charles Murray seemed to believe that the evidence was still lacking.
How can this be reconciled with Tuncay’s observations? According to Clark’s model, the quality of a mate is not entirely reflected in his or her income. The recent trend in assortative wage mating could simply be a consequence of the increased access of women to the labor market. In old times, AM was as strong as today, but it did not show in terms of wages. Even today, AM could be stronger than what wages show, because a “high quality” mate can choose a carrier path with a lower income if he or she has other interests in life. Not so for a “low quality” mate.
What is a mate’s “quality”, then? Clark tests several models and the one that fits the data best seems to be the linear genetic model. In short: the genes we inherit at birth. This research is still in the early stage, and it is obviously controversial, so let’s be cautious.
This does not diminish in the least the importance of AM for social and economic outcomes. I just want to stress that the trend is maybe not what we think.
My experience dating (age 56 now, but this was true in 40s and earlier) is that men I'm interested in would like to have a woman who can prioritize them.
As I have grown children and a business with employees, this can be a challenge.
Re software engineer. It will get you. a smoking hot babe if you are rich.
There is a hierarchy. A man I use to work with once told me that when he first met his wife her life basically revolved around her father. When they started going out it was transferred to him. It was great. She was his best friend, his camping partner, his hunting and fishing buddy, his lover and so forth. They got married. Had kids. He dropped to #2 in his life. #1 one day, #2 the next! They were still married and it was a long time but he said "It hurt!" I think there is a lot of truth in that.
If you marry a woman or a man without a career the hierarchy is
#1 Man. When kids come along it's #1 kids, #2 man.
If the woman has a career it might be #1 Career, #2 Man. or possibly #1 Man, #2 Career. And it's the same for men, sort of. #1 Career, #2 Woman or vice versa. When kids enter the picture it's #1 Kids, #2 Career #3 Man. If the kids are lucky. If not it could be #1 Career, #2 Kids #3 Man. Anyway you slice it you are going to wind up #3. If you got into a relationship with your eyes wide open that one thing. I suspect most people don't.
With men it's sometimes more complicated and it id probably going to be #1 Career, #2 Woman, #3 Kids and frankly would probably be that way for most men in high paying high status jobs.