Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Buying brides in Mexico

In Timor, a few years back, some of the locals told me that bride-selling was pretty much the norm. If you wanted to marry someone´s daughter, your parents would have to pay her parents the bride price, normally in livestock. This served as a massive incentive to have daughters. And often having daughters led to having sons.

In Mexico, there is no bride selling by families (fortunately: the price on Susie´s head would likely be beyond my budget). However, the custom has been taken up by the immigration ministry, who demand $2658Pesos from foreigners for a ¨license¨ to marry a Mexican.

This seems a hugely efficient tax. Demand for Mexicans spouses, presumably, would be very inelastic to the price of this license. I, personally, would pay double that for Susana, or triple.

In one of my many questions for the Mexican bureaucracy, I ask: how did they come up with the bride price of $2658?

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