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Searching for a Mate: Theory and Experimental Evidence

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  • Fisman, Raymond

    (Columbia U)

  • Iyengar, Sheena

    (Columbia U)

  • Kamenica, Emir

    (Harvard U)

  • Simonson, Itamar

    (Stanford U)

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    Abstract

    We provide a theoretical framework for studying mate search and selection based on a two-sided matching model. Guided by the model, we study dating behavior using data from an experimental dating market, where we generate random matching of subjects and create random variation in the number of potential partners. Male selectivity is invariant to group size, while female selectivity is strongly increasing in group size. This difference implies that the female net utility function of dating is more concave in the number of dates. We also report the valuation of various attributes by men and women; in accordance with the common stereotype, females put greater weight on intelligence relative to males, while males put relatively greater weight on physical appearance. Further, we find that males are less attracted to females with intelligence or ambition greater than their own.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Stanford University, Graduate School of Business in its series Research Papers with number 1882.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1882

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    References

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    1. Guenter Hitsch & Ali Hortacsu, 2005. "What Makes You Click? An Empirical Analysis of Online Dating," 2005 Meeting Papers 207, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher, 1999. "New Developments in Models of Search in the Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 2053, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Robert Shimer & Lones Smith, 2000. "Assortative Matching and Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 343-370, March.
    4. Roth, Alvin E. & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1992. "Two-sided matching," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 485-541 Elsevier.
    5. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
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