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Propose with a Rose? Signaling in Internet Dating Markets

  • Soohyung Lee
  • Muriel Niederle
  • Hye-Rim Kim
  • Woo-Keum Kim

The large literature on costly signaling and the somewhat scant literature on preference signaling had varying success in showing the effectiveness of signals. We use a field experiment to show that even when everyone can send a signal, signals are free and the only costs are opportunity costs, sending a signal increases the chances of success. In an online dating experiment, participants can attach "virtual roses" to a proposal to signal special interest in another participant. We find that attaching a rose to an offer substantially increases the chance of acceptance. This effect is driven by an increase in the acceptance rate when the offer is made to a participant who is less desirable than the proposer. Furthermore, participants endowed with more roses have more of their offers accepted than their counterparts.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17340.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17340.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17340
Note: LS
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  1. Peter Arcidiacono & Patrick Bayer & Aurel Hizmo, 2008. "Beyond Signaling and Human Capital: Education and the Revelation of Ability," NBER Working Papers 13951, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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