Economics dating video
How can we make it so that when somebody says I’m interested in you, they really mean it.
And the way they did that is they use the what an economist would call the idea of signaling.
And so when we think about a place where investing and getting what you really want is particularly valuable, it seems like the market for a life partner is hard to beat.
So if we just go into some market where everything is commodity, I don’t know, stocks, or bonds, or something like that, we don’t need to do much searching.
But when you do shop for a house, you just need to find the one you really want and be willing to pay enough for it.
Whereas, when you pick a life partner it’s much more akin to the job search. And as a result, what ends up happening is both employers and people looking for jobs as well as people looking for significant others are always wondering could I do a little bit better? So I might date somebody a few times and I think, well, you know I can probably find a match that would be a little bit more appropriate.
But I pay the cost on that, which is in the short term I have to keep looking for somebody and I’m lonely.
And so one thing that I found particularly interesting is when an online dating site in Korea stepped in and said, OK, how can we make this market work a little better?
Shopping for a house and shopping for, that’s terrible terminology, but trying to find the right life partner are very similar in the one sense where each one is different.
So every house is different and every life partner is different.
Download this podcast SARAH GREEN: Welcome to the HBR Idea Cast. I’m talking today with Paul Oyer, Professor of Economics at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. SARAH GREEN: So Paul, I’d like to just kick off by talking a little bit about the economic concept of search costs.
He’s the author of the book, Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating. Can you just maybe describe what the concept is and how you’ve applied it to this idea of looking for a life partner?