Tyler Cowen had a pointer to a paper by economist Divya Mathur on arranged marriages (pdf here). Cowen’s take:
I take the implicit model to be that parents want a wife who will obey her in-laws. Sons want wives who will earn some money and be more interesting to talk to. Put the son in charge and the supply of potential mates responds accordingly.
The issue of arranged marriages has of cause played a role in Danish politics in the form of the “24-year-rule” but we should be careful in translating Mathur’s findings to a Western context where immigration policy conflicts complicates matters.