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How Economists Would Fix Online Dating – The Wall Street Journal


A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by technology columnist Christopher Mims looks at the relationship between online dating and economics, and what the former can learn from the latter.

Mims quotes Nobel Prize winner Alvin Roth, who said: “Dating markets are a good example of matching markets. To work well, they have to overcome all the problems markets have to overcome.”

And to do this, Mims says, sites have to create a “thick” market – one which is full of people looking to sign up, however this can often create a new problem of “congestion”, an example of which would be a large proportion of men on OkCupid messaging the most attractive women in a certain area, but receiving no replies.

There are a number of ways to solve this, one of which comes from the “virtual rose” study, which found that people are more likely to respond to users whose “interest was sincere”, and went beyond a simple “swipe” or like – something Tinder’s Super Like is based on.

But can dating sites solve the “market congestion” implicit in figuring out if you like someone, a time-consuming process some say is “simply unavoidable”?

Read the excellent article here or here.

Simon Edmunds

Simon is the former editor of Global Dating Insights. Born in Newcastle, he has an English degree from Queen Mary, London and after working for the NHS, trained as a journalist with the Press Association. Passionate about music, journalism and Newcastle United.

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