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Oyer, himself a man who met his current girlfriend on a dating site, extols their virtues, saying that for a certain population — in his case, a 50-year-old man; in the letter writer’s case, a 34-year-old woman — online dating has made the market thinner.In non-economist terms, that means it’s created fewer obstacles to entering the market and more possibilities for a person to find their partner.We lived in Princeton at the same time, but we’d never met each other. As I honestly needed to, I put on my profile that I was separated, because my divorce wasn’t final yet.And it was only when we went to this marketplace together, which in our case was JDate, that we finally got to know each other. And I suggested that I was newly single and ready to look for another relationship.
Oyer carries this metaphor over to people who are holding out for their soul mate, calling them “romantically unemployed.” He suggests flipping the narrative from “settling” for someone who isn’t perfect to finding a partner “who is really great,” he said. Eligible men are indeed scarcer than available women, especially in major cities.Editor’s Note: With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we decided to revisit a piece Making Sen$e did on the world of online dating. Making Sen$e airs every Thursday on the PBS News Hour.Last year, economics correspondent Paul Solman and producer Lee Koromvokis spoke with labor economist Paul Oyer, author of the book “Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating.” It turns out, the dating pool isn’t that different from any other market, and a number of economic principles can readily be applied to online dating. — Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Paul Oyer: So I found myself back in the dating market in the fall of 2010, and since I’d last been on the market, I’d become an economist, and online dating had arisen.I eventually ended up meeting somebody who I’ve been very happy with for about two and a half years now.The ending of my personal story is, I think, a great indicator of the importance of picking the right market. We work a hundred yards apart, and we had many friends in common.
Paul Solman: Just listening to you right now, I was wondering if that was an example of Akerlof’s “market for lemons” problem. Statistical discrimination is always closely related to adverse selection, or the so-called Akerlof’s lemons problem.