Speed dating for business
Does all of this rational-choice stuff take the romance and mystery out of romance (just as some have accused my fellow economist Joel Waldfogel of taking the Christmas spirit out of Christmas)? Our purpose is to understand how life-long relationships are formed.
The first step in helping people find love and happiness is to figure out what they're really looking for in the first place.
With the obvious qualification that we're talking here about a four-minute version of love and dating, we found that men did put significantly more weight on their assessment of a partner's beauty, when choosing, than women did.
“I've tried online sites and am tired of looking at profiles with guys wearing hats and sunglasses. The 61-year-old Manhattanite recently posted a personal ad to Craigslist in an attempt to get one step closer to a “warm male mensch.” You may be wondering, why Craigslist? After a cursory Google search, it's clear there are plenty of dating sites tailor-made for the over-50 crowd, not to mention the dozens created for the twenty-and-thirty-somethings.
To really understand what people prefer, you need to pair men and women randomly in an experimental dating service and document the decisions they make. Speed dating is matchmaking on, well, speed—each male-female pair (we stuck to heterosexual couples) meets for four minutes to size each other up, at which point a whistle blows, signaling the men to get up and move on to the next woman.
And so for a couple of years at a local bar just off the Columbia campus, I ran a speed-dating experiment with two psychologists, Sheena Iyengar and Itamar Simonson, and fellow economist Emir Kamenica. After each "date," participants decide if they'd like to see their partner again.
“I tried it all — JDate, Match, e Harmony…” Her voice trails off, as if she’s thinking hard. And, like the rest of the millions of people registered on dating sites and apps across the internet, she finds dating exciting, if not simultaneously exhausting. “When I go on dates now I say, you know, ‘are you completely, verifiably divorced,’ you know, ‘are you completely single?
So after a grueling 17 years in the online dating world, Ellen decided to get back to basics. I'm kind of old fashioned so if you are genuinely single and want to meet someone educated and reasonable, please get in touch. Do you have some free time on weekends for conversation and companionship? ’ Because I learned separated really means married.” According to a Pew Research study from April, 6% of singles ages 55-64 are online dating, a far cry from the overwhelming 22% of 25-to-34-year-old singles signed up to find love.