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Terms of Endearment: An Equilibrium Model of Sex and Matching

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  • Peter Arcidiacono
  • Andrew W. 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16517.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16517

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  1. Audra J. Bowlus & Zvi Eckstein, 1998. "Discrimination and Skill Differences in an Equilibrium Search Model," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics 9802, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  2. Linda Y. Wong, 2003. "Structural Estimation of Marriage Models," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 699-728, July.
  3. 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.
  4. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2009. "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 7311, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Gunter J. Hitsch & Ali Horta�su & Dan Ariely, 2010. "Matching and Sorting in Online Dating," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 130-63, March.
  6. Petrongolo, Barbara & Pissarides, Christopher, 2000. "Looking Into The Black Box: A Survey Of The Matching Function," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 2409, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Aloysius Siow, 2009. "Testing Becker's Theory of Positive Assortative Matching," Working Papers tecipa-356, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  8. Robert J. Willis, 1999. "A Theory of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S33-S64, December.
  9. Jeremy T. Fox, 2010. "Identification in matching games," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 1(2), pages 203-254, November.
  10. 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, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 124-57, July.
  11. Chiappori, P.A., 1989. "Collective Labour Supply and Welfare," DELTA Working Papers, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure) 89-07, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  12. Eugene Choo & Aloysius Siow, 2006. "Who Marries Whom and Why," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 175-201, February.
  13. 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.
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  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. Ingela Alger & Donald Cox, 2013. "The evolution of altruistic preferences: mothers versus fathers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 421-446, September.
  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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