Online dating economy
And so I started online dating, and immediately, as an economist, I saw this was a market like so many others.
The parallels between the dating market and the labor market are so overwhelming, I couldn’t help but notice that there was so much economics going on in the process.
So naively just saying, “Hey, I’m ready for a new relationship,” or whatever I wrote in my profile, I got a lot of notices from women saying things like, “You look like the type of person I would like to date, but I don’t date people until they’re further away from their past relationship.” So that’s one mistake.
If it had dragged on for years and years, it would have gotten really tiresome.
So eventually, you’re no longer separated and the problem solves itself, whereas if you have a problem like you’ve been on the site for years and years, people might assume you’re a lemon who can’t find a relationship. Lee Koromvokis: So that would be like a house that’s been on the market too long?
Paul Oyer: Yes, like a house that’s been on the market too long. A lot of people are finding it hard to find a job even though the job market has revived. They lost their job when the market was really bad.
I eventually ended up meeting somebody who I’ve been very happy with for about two and a half years now.
And you even referred to single people, single lonely people, as “romantically unemployed.” So could you expand on that a little bit?
These frictions, the time spent looking for a mate, lead to loneliness or as I like to say, romantic unemployment.
The first piece of advice an economist would give people in online dating is: “Go big.” You want to go to the biggest market possible.
And those frictions are what leads to unemployment.
That’s what the Nobel Committee said when they gave the Nobel prize to economists Dale Mortensen and Christopher Pissarides for their insight that frictions in the job market create unemployment, and as a result, there will always be unemployment, even when the economy is doing really well. By the same exact logic, there are always going to be plenty of single people out there, because it takes time and effort to find your mate.
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Editor’s Note: With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we decided to revisit a piece Making Sen$e did on the world of online dating. Making Sen$e airs every Thursday on the PBS News Hour.