With Valentine’s Day approaching, The Economist explores the economics behind dating:
DATING is a treacherous business. There may be plenty of fish in the sea, yet many are unhygienic, self-absorbed, disconcertingly attached to ex-fish, or fans of Donald Trump. Digital dating sites, including a growing array of matchmaking apps, are meant to help. Their design owes more to hard-nosed economics than it does to the mysteries of the heart.
In a sense, searching for a mate is not so different from hunting for a job. Jobs, like prospective partners, have their strengths and weaknesses, which makes finding the right one a matter of complicated trade-offs. Such exchanges are different from other transactions, in that both parties must be enthusiastic about the match for it to happen. A supermarket, in contrast, does not particularly care whose wallet it is draining, nor does the power company agonise about whether a customer is worthy of its watts.