Book review: Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating
Paul Oyer. Harvard Business Review Press. €22.99
When after 20 years of marriage, Stanford economist Oyer found himself newly single, he turned to the internet to find love and found himself increasingly drawing comparisons between the online dating market and the business markets he studied every day.
Oyer argues that dating is all economics. He uses his own experiences and those of other users of dating sites to show just how the modern marketplace works. The behaviours driving online dating mimic those driving any other market, he notes.
Match. com and eHarmony, he argues, are no different from eBay or Monster. com. On all these sites, people come together trying to find matches to satisfy needs. The parallels between searching for a partner and searching for a job are striking, he notes. In both cases it is a two-sided search in which both parties are considering all of their options. Both sides know that something better might become available and there is often a reluctance to settle, and in both cases there is a big potential penalty for being too picky.