The Economics of Speed Dating

Click here to read a paper by Michele Belot and Marco Francesconi which uses speed dating to understand how we select partners. The paper's abstract is:
Much empirical evidence shows that female and male partners look alike along a variety of attributes. It is however unclear how this positive sorting comes about, because marriage is an equilibrium outcome arising from a process that entails searching, meeting and choosing one another, a process that is usually a black box to social researchers. This study exploits unique field data from a large speed dating agency to shed light on the forces driving choices at the earliest stage of a relationship after a first meeting. We find that both women and men value physical attributes, such as age and weight, and that choices are assortative along age, height, and education. However, we find that meeting opportunities play a dominant role in determining dating proposals. These results have important implications for our understanding of the degree of social openness and mobility.
BBC News have a piece on this research, which highlights the finding that women are twice as choosy as men when they go speed dating and seeks to explain why men are less fussy. The video below by psychologist John Lydon of the Lydon Lab, which studies interpersonal relationships, explains how to succeed at speed dating!

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