The Game of Arranged Marriages

Nikunj Anchalia, Petra Ackerlauer, Usha Kannan


A recent article in the Times of India (Desai, 2009) discusses the persistent existence of arranged marriages in India over time. Surprisingly, the educated middle class is experiencing a slightly increasing rate of arranged marriages indicating that it still is a widely accepted way of finding a partner. But the advancement of technology has definitely transformed arranged marriages (C NN, 2008). A common way to find a potential spouse these days is through online matchmaking portals like (14 million profiles) or bharatmatrimony. com (1.5 million profiles). Relying on romance or love when entering a marriage involves trying to transform a relationship from its present state into a long-term committed union. The problem is that even though romance may facilitate love, it does not necessarily guarantee a long term bond. Arranged marriages, on the other hand, simply try to transform an uncertain future outcome into a secure long-term contract base d on specific economic, cultural, educational and social factors associated with the potential partners (Desai, 2009). This paper analyses arranged marriages in the context of game theory, highlighting the principles of utility maximization , principal–agent theory and economies of scale .

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