Monday, November 28, 2016

REPOST: Economists help humans get dates

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Economists help humans get dates

TED Talk on how economists help Internet companies solve problems


  1. Froeb,
    The notion of predictive dating in an online setting is an interesting concept to explore thru artificial scarcity. How are dating techniques associated with success or failure of men’s across dating sites? The idea of putting a limiting factor on the number of date offer that men have against women across these sites is an interesting concept, it does not only limit the opportunity selection for man but equally encourage them to make wiser decision in their offer process since their opportunities are limited in a quota basis.
    In the one hand, the limiting factor reduce the number of request women were getting which subsequently created more interesting men candidates but equally increase their interest for the offers they were getting. While artificial scarcity is certainly at play in this dating example, constraining the number of offers by candidates, in this case men, was a potential factor for women to have more interest in the actual offers they were getting. The limiting factor of having a set number of opportunity for months to make a dating request allow men to make more informative decision in their selection process, meaning they would engage in reading the woman profile to forecast potential areas of equality or interest. Artificial scarcity is certainly and interesting topic to explore further not only in dating industry but also across many other areas of the eCommerce segment.

  2. The creation of artificial scarcity, through limiting date offers that men could make to women on (Litan R. , 2014) was an interesting turn of events. By making their choices matter more, men suddenly had to be more strategic on their offers. The online dating process has some parallels to a sealed-bid auction process, where “bidders” (the men) are in the dark about their competition, forcing them to be more strategic and aggressive, especially if they feel the competition is strong (Froeb, McCann, Shor, & Ward, 2016).

    I will be careful here and say that the “product” in this auction is NOT the women or even a date but the ability to make that initial acceptance of contact. Auction parallels don’t end there. In this case, the women on the site have their selection criteria (the “auction price”) and the “bids” can be thought of the men’s profile. The better the profile, the higher the likelihood of a successful “auction win” (the contact made).

    An important difference, however, is the idea of “profit”. In anauction, real money is used. In online dating, the man’s profile is the currency. Profiles are controlled wholly by the man who owns it. I suppose, in a way, that each man has unlimited “currency”, albeit in their own world. What that “currency” is worth is up to the women.

    Psychologically, “exposure to scarcity-related cues prompts consumers to engage in behaviors that advance their own welfare, through the activation of a competitive orientation” (ROUX, GOLDSMITH, & BONEZZI, 2015). That’s exactly what happened here - the introduction of artificial scarcity forced men to be more discriminating.


    Froeb, L. M., McCann, B. T., Shor, M., & Ward, M. R. (2016). Managerial Economics: A Problem Solving Approach. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengae Learning.

    Litan, R. (2014, August 8). An economist walks into a bar | Robert Litan | TEDxKC. Retrieved April 14, 2017, from YouTube:

    ROUX, C., GOLDSMITH, K., & BONEZZI, A. (2015). On the Psychology of Scarcity: When Reminders of Resource Scarcity Promote Selfish (and Generous) Behavior. Journal Of Consumer Research, 42(4), 615-631.