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Terms of Endearment: An Equilibrium Model of Sex and Matching

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  • Peter Arcidiacono
  • Andrew Beauchamp
  • Marjorie B. McElroy

Abstract

We develop a directed search model of relationship formation which can disentangle male and female preferences for types of partners and for different relationship terms using only a cross-section of observed matches. Individuals direct their search to a particular type of match on the basis of (i) the terms of the relationship, (ii) the type of partner, and (iii) the endogenously determined probability of matching. If men outnumber women, they tend to trade a low probability of a preferred match for a high probability of a less-preferred match; the analogous statement holds for women. Using data from National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health we estimate the equilibrium matching model with high school relationships. Variation in gender ratios is used to uncover male and female preferences. Estimates from the structural model match subjective data on whether sex would occur in one's ideal relationship. The equilibrium result shows that some women would ideally not have sex, but do so out of matching concerns; the reverse is true for men.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 786969000000000608.

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Date of creation: 23 Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:786969000000000608

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  1. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2009. "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 190-225, August.
  2. Aloysius Siow, 2009. "Testing Becker's Theory of Positive Assortative Matching," Working Papers tecipa-356, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  3. Ran Abramitzky & Adeline Delavande & Luis Vasconcelos, 2011. "Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 124-57, July.
  4. Wong, Linda, 2001. "Structural Estimation of Marriage Models," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 A1-1, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  5. Audra J. Bowlus & Zvi Eckstein, 1998. "Discrimination and Skill Differences in an Equilibrium Search Model," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9802, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  6. Jeremy T. Fox, 2009. "Identification in Matching Games," NBER Working Papers 15092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Goldin, Claudia & Kuziemko, Ilyana & Katz, Lawrence, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Scholarly Articles 2962611, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Marjorie B. McElroy, 1990. "The Empirical Content of Nash-Bargained Household Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 559-583.
  9. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-67, June.
  10. Gunter J. Hitsch & Ali Horta�su & Dan Ariely, 2010. "Matching and Sorting in Online Dating," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 130-63, March.
  11. Barbara Petrongolo & Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Looking Into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," CEP Discussion Papers dp0470, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. Eugene Choo & Aloysius Siow, 2006. "Who Marries Whom and Why," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 175-201, February.
  13. Robert J. Willis, 1999. "A Theory of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S33-S64, December.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Teen sex: are female droping scrupules due to the lack of men?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-01-08 15:51:00
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Cited by:
  1. Alger, Ingela & Cox, Donald, 2012. "The Evolution of Altruistic Preferences: Mothers versus Fathers," TSE Working Papers 12-369, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised May 2013.
  2. Seth Richards-Shubik, 2012. "Peer Effects in Sexual Initiation: Separating Demand and Supply Mechanisms," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-015, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.

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