Sunday, September 06, 2009

Alphas, Betas, and Marital Status



The table lists the percent distribution for Alphas (20-700 lifetime sex partners) and Betas (1-2 partners) based on GSS data. I'm using the same age, race, and period: whites in this decade ages 30-39. You can see that Betas are much more likely to be married, while Alphas are more likely to have never married. No surprise there.

But look at the divorced and separated statistics. I thought that any woman who could catch a Real Man would never let him go, no matter what, while married women with squishy Betas would throw them over for even a smile from Mr. Testosterone. The percent of divorced Alphas is eight times that of Betas.

These facts are consistent with my view that while some women like the idea of a roll in the hay with Studly, on a day-to-day basis they want a man who treats them well. Women like attention, consideration, thoughtfulness, responsibility, and generosity. If she gets treated like dirt, she's eventually going to move on, no matter how sexy the guy is.

28 comments:

Chuck said...

well there's that negative correlation between betas+religion and divorce.

this would damp down the beta divorce numbers. also, alphas are more prone to cheat on their mates leading to higher incidences of divorce.

Anonymous said...

It matters in how many cases women initiate the divorce. For example, if every single divorce is initiated by a man, then the divorce statistics tell us nothing at all about whether women prefer beta men to alpha men in the long term. And if some are initiated by men and some by women, then it matters a great deal whether the proportions are the same in the two columns.

Jason Malloy said...

Several months ago I found that promiscuous men in the GSS were more likely to have wives that earned more money than them, and that this economic balance leads to the least happy marriages for both men and women.

Women were happiest in marriages where the husband and wife earn about the same amount.

Anonymous said...

Which is why Alphas have no future (remember they have less children than Betas).
It's kind of similar to overspecialization in evolutionary biology: being too efficient of a predator isn't always a good thing.
In the long term, men don't gain much from being Alphas.

Ferdinand Bardamu said...

"I thought that any woman who could catch a Real Man would never let him go, no matter what,"

Are you so sure it's the women are are initiating those breakups?

"while married women with squishy Betas would throw them over for even a smile from Mr. Testosterone."

Uh, no. When a woman divorces her beta husband, it's the culmination of a long and painful process, not a spur-of-the-moment decision based on "a smile from Mr. Testosterone." And as Chuck said, infidelity is always an option.

Welmer said...

If this isn't broken down by sex it isn't that useful, and due to cultural conditioning is probably leading you to false conclusions.

For example, promiscuous females are probably far more likely to divorce than faithful women, but do we know for sure that the same goes for men?

Again, you are only looking at male behavior as the cause of divorce, etc. Same old fallacy you guys have been coming up with for years, despite the fact that women have had MORE incentives than men for decades when it comes to divorce.

This is borne out by the fact that 70% of divorces are filed by women, and in the remaining 30% most men had no choice (e.g. woman left him and took the children, and he needed a court-ordered residential schedule to see his kids).

Are you seriously suggesting that in most of those divorces it was the men who were fooling around, especially given that the infidelity rate by gender is at least even now?

Jason Malloy said...

"For example, promiscuous females are probably far more likely to divorce than faithful women, but do we know for sure that the same goes for men?"

Yes. The biological mechanisms underlying promiscuity have a logical and empirical link to relationship instability more generally, for both men and women.

For example, the GSS shows that only 58% of married men who have had 20+ partners say their marriage is 'very happy' compared with 72% of men who have had 1-2 partners. Men with 20+ partners are over twice as likely to say they are "very unhappy" in their marriage than men with 1-2 partners: 3.6% vs 1.4.

A similar trend for women: 64% of women with 1-2 partners are 'very happy' compared with 60% of the 20+ women. And women with 20+ partners are almost three times as likely to be "very unhappy" in their marriage: 5.9% vs 2.2%.

This is borne out by the fact that 70% of divorces are filed by women


Several months ago I showed, using the combined published testimonies of both men and women, that men and women are probably equally responsible for divorce:


23% of divorces are males "trading-up"
28% of divorces are males "screwing-up"
-------
51% of divorces due to men


42% of divorces are females "trading-up"
7% of divorces are females "screwing-up"
-------
49% of divorces due to women

Jason Malloy said...

Or to use an example from the literature: Sociosexual Orientation is a measure of how open or predisposed men and women are to having sex with little or no emotional attachment. It is associated with higher numbers of lifetime sex partners.

It also has a significant association with marital dissatisfaction. Both men and women with high Sociosexual Orientation scores are much more dissatisfied with their marriages, and both men and women married to people with high sociosexual orientation scores are more dissatisfied with their marriages.

Sociosexual Orientation and Marital Satisfaction

MEN: -.43
WOMEN: -.30


Spouse's Sociosexual Orientation and Marital Satisfaction


MEN: -.15
WOMEN: -.35


Sociosexual orientation is also one of the strongest traits people assort by: promiscuous men are much more likely to marry promiscuous women.

Partner personality variables that predict marital happiness are consistent across both genders: both men and women are happier when spouses are agreeable and conscientious (and people who seek multiple sex partners score low on both dimensions). A consistent finding in the literature is that women are more satisfied in marriages with men who score highly on the personality dimension of "psychological femininity" (e.g. more sensitive, caring, and emotional). Quoting from the above paper:

"When evaluating the effects of one’s partner’s personality on one’s own level of marital satisfaction, researchers have found that, for both men and women, the more they perceived their partner as feminine, the more marital satisfaction they reported ... Thus, men who behave in relatively masculine ways can have satisfied partners, but only to the extent that they also score high on the femininity trait. The empirical literature has consistently shown that the partners of such men, who are categorized as the androgynous type, report high levels of satisfaction in their marriage "

The correlation between wife's happiness and husband's psychological femininity in the above paper is .29. The correlation between her marital happiness and the husband's psychological masculinity was .05.

Karl said...

Personality and marital satisfaction: a behavioural genetic analysis

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/110451923/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

Abstract
...Contrary to expectations, husbands' personality did not explain large portions of wives' marital satisfaction beyond that explained by wives' personality. This study emphasizes the importance of spousal personality to the well-being of marriages, and results are discussed within the context of three different theories regarding associations between personality and marital quality. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

So the femininity/masculinity correlations may mean nothing given the causal direction is from the other side.

Karl said...

I found another article which also supports the idea that marital satisfaction is primarily derived from the females rather than males. If marital satisfaction is a good indicator of divorce then it follows that the numbers you posted regarding male/female reasons for divorce would be biased. Meaning women probably cause divorce at larger rates than men.

Jason Malloy said...

Karl, that was a good paper, thanks. I do not object to the fact that the correlations I described above may be due entirely to assortment (e.g. unhappy women assort with promiscuous, non-caring men, and happy women with caring, monogamous men, and vice versa).


RE: your follow-up comment. It is a well-established finding that a wife's marital satisfaction is the most important determinate of the husband's marital satisfaction.

This underscores how much power females have in heterosexual relationships, but it does not follow how this would bias the numbers I provided above.

It does not obviously suggest why the reasons men and women themselves give for the divorces they experience and initiate are inaccurate. You'll have to elaborate.

Karl said...

Jason,

I had limited time on a university computer, but when scanning through the paper of the twin study they seemed to have accounted for assortment effects. There wasn't any correlations between husbands of identical twins (except for the 'optimism' measure). So personality wise, at least, males don't really affect marital satisfaction. Essentially, females dictate the marital satisfaction on both sides.

This would mean that the assumption that 'men screwing up' and possibly 'men trading up' are actually lower than they appear in your analysis. Which would mean women are primarily responsible for divorce.

There's another article if I get time tomorrow or later tonight that looks at masculinity in marriage that may be interesting.

Jason Malloy said...

Karl,

"This would mean that the assumption that 'men screwing up' and possibly 'men trading up' are actually lower than they appear in your analysis."

No, it doesn't affect my estimates. “Irreconcilable differences” are all lumped under "trading up." The two biggest fault-based reasons cited for divorce are infidelity and substance abuse, which seemingly account for much of the 'men behaving badly' divorces.

Also, while I think that linked twin study is definitely getting at something true and important (i.e. the wife’s genetic temperament largely determines whether marriages are happy or unhappy), I am certainly skeptical that the personality of the male has no effect on either his own happiness or the wife’s happiness in a marriage.

A possible reason for this is that the personality measures they used might be lame. I don’t know the construct validity of their various Swedish personality tests. They didn’t include the big 5 or the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory discussed above.

Karl said...

Jason,

'(i.e. the wife’s genetic temperament largely determines whether marriages are happy or unhappy), I am certainly skeptical that the personality of the male has no effect on either his own happiness or the wife’s happiness in a marriage. '

The study does not say that there are 'no' effects. It notes that there are effects but they are small. Basically as you said - the wife's genetic temperament largely determines whether marriages are unhappy or happy.

Karl said...

And that it has little do with assortment of mates, at least in regards to personality.

Welmer said...

“Irreconcilable differences” are all lumped under "trading up." The two biggest fault-based reasons cited for divorce are infidelity and substance abuse, which seemingly account for much of the 'men behaving badly' divorces.

Aside from the fact that "fault-based" stats are likely skewed by legal norms (unless of course the study was not conducted on the basis of what people actually submitted to the court), I've got to take issue with the assertion that only 7% of divorces are a result of women "screwing up," e.g. cheating.

Because women cheat at nearly the same rate as men, and possibly more in the younger cohort, and because female infidelity is more likely to lead to divorce, it hardly seems likely that men are four times as likely to "screw up," even if they have higher rates of substance abuse (women are catching up on that score as well).

I am convinced that there is a great deal of cultural bias against men in family law that is skewing these statistics. For those of you who have not been through divorce yourselves, I'm not sure you can get an accurate picture of the situation through statistics, because you haven't learned how to read them through the prism of family law.

For example, when I see you put out a figure like 42% of women "trading up" (irreconcilable differences), I know that a large portion of those are adultery divorces where the wife successfully hid her affair and then ran off (or her husband said nothing out of shame). Likewise, when I see 28% of men allegedly "screwing up," I know that many of those men have been falsely accused.

I also know that in a large proportion of the cases where men are supposedly "trading up," they are only acting on the advice of an attorney who has told them that they don't want to look like a mean, villain of a guy who likes to beat up on his wife in court. However, it is open season on men in court. It is in fact advantageous for women to slander their husbands, because the social workers in custody cases are far more likely to suspect a man of being dangerous and - being largely female and feminist - they are generally biased in favor of mothers' testimony.

Look at the chart in your examination of fault in divorces. There are two that stand out in stark relief:

"Abuse" and "don't know"

Women accuse men of abuse in 9.2% and men say "don't know" why in 9.1% of filings. In both, the accused gender does not even accuse the other of the same in 0.1% of the cases. Women always have a reason, although it may be mutual, yet a significant number of men have no reason at all.

Does that make any sense? No, it doesn't. The bias is right there. Family law skews the numbers by giving women an incentive to lay the blame on men, and by discouraging men from doing the same.

Jason Malloy said...

"I've got to take issue with the assertion that only 7% of divorces are a result of women "screwing up," e.g. cheating."


This is what the men themselves report. Only in 21% of male-initiated divorces do men fault their wives for their decision. There is no reason men should lie to the scientists about this.



Likewise, when I see 28% of men allegedly "screwing up," I know that many of those men have been falsely accused.


This is quite possible. But many more men than women admit that their bad behavior is what prompted the divorce. This admission is in a purely anonymous context to social scientists, not to a court.


Assuming all the self-serving dishonesty is on the part of the women, and making estimates purely off of the man's word (itself a very generous concession, IMO) doesn't really alter the estimates in mens' favor.


"I also know that in a large proportion of the cases where men are supposedly "trading up," they are only acting on the advice of an attorney who has told them that they don't want to look like a mean, villain of a guy"


Not sure what you mean here. The number of men who are "trading up" was estimated by taking the number of men who initiate divorce but do not blame the wife for the destruction of the marriage (79% of male initiated divorce).


"Family law skews the numbers by giving women an incentive to lay the blame on men, and by discouraging men from doing the same."


In confidential discussions with social scientists? No.

Jake said...

I think the problem here is the Inductivist's analysis is disingenuous in the link Jason provided.

So basically there's a 21% chance you divorce given you do everything mostly right if you're the man. However, probability alone is only half of a utility calculation. The cost for divorce for men on all fronts (monetarily, child custody etc) is extremely large. This is a 21% chance your entire life is ruined. This does not make a strong argument for marriage if you're a good guy. Who would take this risk rationally?

Also, from what I recall in happiness research - there is little to no gain from marrying and having children. So the inverse scenario does not hold much benefit.

If you're a good woman:
It's about 12% chance you get hosed. However, in all likelihood the cost for a woman will be dramatically lower (divorce courts heavily favor women).

If you're a bad man:
So from Jason's look in the GSS, promiscuous men are more likely to have women earn more than them. So even if they are the cause of the divorce, they become the beneficiary. It pays to be a bad sugar daddy.

The argument for marriage, for decent guys is simply speaking weak. However, I think attention should be focused on dampening the effects of divorce rather than trying to change the nature of divorce. (It seems like a lot energy is put into concept of no-fault divorce, though there isn't much empirical evidence to back it up).

Welmer said...


This is what the men themselves report. Only in 21% of male-initiated divorces do men fault their wives for their decision. There is no reason men should lie to the scientists about this.


Looks like I misinterpreted the study. When I saw "respondents" on the table, I assumed that the data came from court documents. This kind of throws off my entire argument in that last post (wish I'd had more time to read all the links).

Regardless, women actually are more likely to lie in confidential discussions with social scientists.


BTW, I did finally read the study, and you appear to have made an error in the following assertion:

"Only in 21% of male-initiated divorces do men fault their wives for their decision."

Actually, the study states:

"Women were about twice as likely as men to refer to
their former spouses as having caused the divorce (40% vs. 21%)."

In all likelihood, a large majority of those men filed for divorce, which would mean that of the 30% of divorces in which the man filed, most of them were due to female misbehavior.

It most definitely does not mean that 79% of men who initiate divorce do not blame their wives.

Therefore, your calculation concerning men who "traded up" is probably well wide of the mark.

I knew there was something wrong with the numbers. Next time I'll do my research before spouting off to a quant.

:)

Jason Malloy said...

Therefore, your calculation concerning men who "traded up" is probably well wide of the mark.

Welmer, this reduces the estimate for women who traded up as well, and inflates the number of men who screwed up. It doesn't really change the final estimate (In fact, it shifts female hypergamy as the single most common cause of divorce to male misbehavior):


9% of divorces are males "trading-up"
40% of divorces are males "screwing-up"
-------
49% of divorces due to men


30% of divorces are females "trading-up"
21% of divorces are females "screwing-up"
-------
51% of divorces due to women


Women initiate more divorces, but they are also twice as likely to have a stated grievance, and men are likewise seven times more likely to admit fault, so it looks like a wash.

The problem with that study is that it asked men and women factors which caused the divorce (e.g. drinking, infidelity), but doesn’t have the respondents state who did what. The estimates could certainly shift appreciably if this kind of data was available (e.g. if a lot of blame is due to irreconcilable differences instead of actual misbehavior).

Ron Guhname said...

All this points to what I suggested before: find a monogamous, traditional girl to marry. Pickings are best at church, trust me.

Jake said...

Or not marry at all.
And live happier.

Welmer said...

Jason Malloy said...

Welmer, this reduces the estimate for women who traded up as well, and inflates the number of men who screwed up. It doesn't really change the final estimate (In fact, it shifts female hypergamy as the single most common cause of divorce to male misbehavior):


Regardless of what it does to your model, the myth that men trade up in significant numbers (e.g. men who divorce their wives are often deadbeats living on tropical islands screwing the young locals) is extremely harmful and has led to draconian, punitive measures against divorced men. That's the number that really shocked me the most, because I know that men are far less likely to divorce without it being forced on them.

Also, that women very rarely admit to fault (1.5%) doesn't surprise me.

I think before working with the numbers we need to better appreciate differences in female psychology, because blame is difficult to discern when you have such an imbalance in its apportion by gender.

And then we have to figure out what degree of "screwing up" is legitimate grounds for divorce. The mess in family law is pretty extensive, and the farther down you go in the age cohort the worse it gets, which doesn't bode well for the future at all.

Timitz said...

"In the long term, men don't gain much from being Alphas."

WHAT!?!?!?!?!?

You can't possibly be serious. There is a lot to be gained by being an Alpha.
1. Higher status with men.
2. Your pick of the women. This can manifest in one of two ways.
2a. You pick which women you have wanton casual sex with.
2b. You pick the exact woman you want to marry and have better odds at getting her to marry you over other rivals, of which, with a high status female, there are bound to be several.

In both cases of 2a and 2b, more sex or the most desirable wife your odds of fathering a child and spreading your genetic code, which is the REAL long term goal, are high.

Doug1 said...

In our feminist culture, women are far more likely to blame men including their husbands in divorce than men are for the same behavior. What is nagging and emasculating behavior in women that men who are subjected to that abuse will often assume partial responsibility for (they were perfect), women will call often call “emotional abuse” under feminist memes if they’ve decided they want out of the marriage to pursue new love, but also get support from her girlfriends and subsequent men she dates, etc. A single male slap or even shove can become and often will at their lawyers suggestion be called physical abuse combined with “constant intimidation” whereas female slapping and even punching and even really serious physical abuse will often go unmentioned by men. Even if the wife is caught cheating under our current feminist and remaining chivalrous memes men will often blame themselves rather than completely her. Women will exaggerate drinking she finds annoying but which is way below the level of alcoholism and doesn’t interfere with his work or make him violent a reason for the divorce and her supposed victimhood, while far fewer men would mention that unless it seriously interfered with her mothering, and probably not even then.

As well men discover female infidelity far less than the other way around. Our entertainment media teaches wives to be ever vigilant about that and about never suggests it’s her own fault for a variety of reasons; whereas in the cases where women are shown fooling around (which our media almost always shows from the wife’s or her lover’s point of view and not the husband’s) it’s also always portrayed as heavily his fault. So men WANT to discover their wife’s fidelity far less.

I don’t think these are small factors. I think the level of bad female behavior needed to get blamed by the husband for the divorce are MUCH higher.

To put it simply, I think when men blame their wives instead of “both of us” the wife’s behavior was much more likely to be truly egregiously bad, than when women assume the victim role and blame their husbands’.

American women leave marriages including long ones with minor children for no compelling reason far more than Jason Malloy’s model suggests.

Anonymous said...

The reason why the betas aren't divorced is because their wives use them as cash cows and roll in the hay with alphas at the same time. Alphas don't make willing cash cows, and don't tolerate cheating, and hence aren't good husband material.

chandra said...

This was something great and special to know of! thanks for the chart!


Marital Status Questionnaire

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