Economics of dating supply and demand
podcast, hosts Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond read a letter from a 34-year-old single urban woman who bemoans the fact that good guys seem to be “scarce,” wondering if she will have to “settle” with someone.
Strayed and Almond mentioned that they’ve recently gotten a steady stream of similar letters from unhappy single women who argue that “all the emotionally available men are spokenfor.” Listening to the show, it sounded at first like your typical advice-column stuff, and like some of those fears must be overblown.
Building on previous work in which he had reshaped the National Resident Matching Program, which matches medical-school graduates with hospital internships, Roth devised an algorithm that would help match willing kidney donors to compatible recipients with whom they had no other connection.
That system became the cornerstone of one of the country’s first kidney exchange clearinghouses.
Adshade proves, through a number of global studies, that our decisions in matters of sexual relationships are made with a firm grasp of economics, whether we realise it or not.
Now she has compiled all the research into a new book, Dirty Money: The Economics of Sex and Love.
Roth swung by Quartz’s New York offices recently to chat about his new book, , which explains how matching markets work, why almost everyone makes it illegal to buy kidneys, and why it’s increasingly rare for people to marry their high-school sweethearts. Alvin Roth: Once you start looking at marketplaces one of the things you notice is that not all marketplaces are set up so that their job is merely to find a price at which supply equals demand. But lots of markets, even when they have prices as very important parts of the market, don’t set the price so that supply equals demand. Quartz doesn’t hire people by lowering the wage until [only] just enough people want to come work here.
Instead, according to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (which collects data well into adulthood), none of these things is occurring. The terms of contemporary sexual relationships favor men and what they want in relationships, not just despite the fact that what they have to offer has diminished, but in part because of it. To better understand what's going on, it's worth a crash course in "sexual economics," an approach best articulated by social psychologists Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Vohs.
As Baumeister, Vohs, and others have repeatedly shown, on average, men want sex more than women do.
In fact, teen promiscuity rates have fallen and there is an economic story behind it.
"Back in the 1980s, if you finished secondary school and you didn't go on to university you still could earn a pretty good living wage," says Adshade."Secondary-school leavers earned enough to support a family and have a home and so on.