Economic theory of dating
The women in those letters were not imagining the fact that it seems like there is a dearth of men; this is especially true if you live in urban areas like New York, where females far outnumber males.From Oyer’s economics perspective, this is a simple problem of supply anddemand."It all depends on what you are bringing to the table.Some of those qualities might be age or attractiveness - and some are financial."Indeed, just go on popular dating sites such as Match.com, and one of the criteria for winnowing down potential matches is annual income."This income preference is more pronounced for women."The takeaway: As much as we like to think we are beyond the days of Jane Austen, when suitors were evaluated largely based on how much money they brought in - the famous Mr. " - money can be critical in our romantic lives."Someone's income will almost always factor into the equation," says Douglas Kobak, a financial planner in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania."When you are becoming serious, you need to consider what your partner is bringing to the table besides love and a good time.The question becomes one about the potential to earn the income needed to build wealth and live a lifestyle you want."Just think about the numerous economic judgments we are making while dating online.He doesn’t exist, and if he did, someone else might have found him by now.” Instead, Oyer imagines the dating game as being more like finding a job.
One way to view the problem is as a tragedy of the commons, where users acting in their (narrow) self-interest over-exploit a shared resource and therefore harm the common good, ultimately harming themselves.
You can look for someone who makes ,000 a year, or ,000, or 0,000. Well, in one study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, which crunched data from a popular Chinese online-dating website, male profiles with the highest income levels got 10 times more visits than the lowest.
Another study, co-authored by famed behavioral economist Dan Ariely, uncovered similar online-dating preferences."Men and women prefer a high-income partners over low-income partners," the authors wrote in the journal Quantitative Marketing and Economics.
But that’s when Strayed and Almond brought in Stanford economics professor Paul Oyer, whose 2014 book Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating chronicled his return to the dating scene as a single, 50-year-old man, which he came to understand as being much like the markets he’d spent a career studying.
Oyer had three observations about the behavioral economics of being (heterosexually)single: Give up on the idea of finding your soul mate, or risk being “romantically unemployed.” Oyer — who was once an unhappily single man — has this advice for hopeless romantics: “You can’t hold out for the perfect man.