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Are we addicted to love? A parsimonious economic model of love


  • Foster, Gigi
  • Pingle, Mark
  • Yang, Jingjing


It is apparent that love influences people's choices, yet little work in economics has focused on how love develops or why it matters for resource allocation decisions. Here, we present a simple dynamic model of how love develops and evolves, recognizing our parsimonious model will not capture all the nuances associated with such a complex topic. Nonetheless, our love dynamic, motivated by a few intuitive assumptions, can explain many observed facts, like why stable love relationships can develop but also why blossoming relationships can unexpectedly take a turn and ultimately dissolve. We embed our love dynamic in an intertemporal optimization problem and derive the optimal path for effort put toward a love relationship when it can also produce material consumption. The optimal path offers an explanation for why “taking the other for granted” may be rational.

Suggested Citation

  • Foster, Gigi & Pingle, Mark & Yang, Jingjing, 2019. "Are we addicted to love? A parsimonious economic model of love," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 70-81.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:165:y:2019:i:c:p:70-81
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.07.009

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    More about this item


    Love; Intertemporal choice; Effort; Well-being; Behavioral;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics


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