Modeling the Dating/Marriage market
January 16, 2006 2:09 AM   Subscribe

Dating/Marriage market and game theory

I'm looking for online papers, journal articles, websites etc. that try and model/study the dating/marriage market from a game theory or similarly mathematical point of view. Any suggestions?
posted by sk381 to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Some of this is covered lightly in a book called Mathematics and Sex

You might also want to look into what is known as the Sultan's Dowry problem. (Replace "highest dowry" with "best mate")

See also the comments on this post on Modal Wives.
posted by vacapinta at 2:22 AM on January 16, 2006

This article on the stopping problem may be of interest: Mathematics, marriage and finding somewhere to eat.
posted by caek at 4:53 AM on January 16, 2006

Matt Ridley's The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature is a fun pop-science read along those lines.
posted by Gortuk at 5:02 AM on January 16, 2006

this mefi post had a cool graph showing the couplings of high school students.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:31 AM on January 16, 2006

No direct suggestion, but I'd guess that you could model the dating scene as a fairly straightforward application of a signaling model or beer-quiche game, so you might find it useful to include those or related terms when you're searching.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:10 AM on January 16, 2006

For more economic persepctives, try searches for assortative mating and marriage market. From your question it looks like you are interested in theoretical models (in theory how would we calculate who to marry). There is a lot of empirical work on this (applied, rather than theoretical) looking at data to see who we actually marry, and seeing what patterns/trends exist.
See for example: Marrying Your Mom which argues that men marry women roughly like their mothers, in terms of socio-economic status and education.
posted by cushie at 8:31 AM on January 16, 2006

There was kind of an interesting post on marginal revolution about modal wives -- the number of potential life mates that you could have under the right circumstances.

A good jumping off point for research, maybe?
posted by ph00dz at 8:32 AM on January 16, 2006

The economist David D. Friedman has a well-written chapter about this topic in his book Hidden Order. He includes much of the same material but with a focus on marriage and family law in his book Law's Order which is free to read online (see chapter 13).
posted by mbrubeck at 8:46 AM on January 16, 2006

The seminal article is Becker, Gary. "A Theory of Marriage" in The Economic Approach to Human Behavior. University of Chicago Press. 1976. (Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

The first part of the article compares the benefits/cost of being married or single for one man and one woman. The second part considers how a group of men and women sort themselves into couples. The second part is considered by many economists to be a very important economic "discovery" with many applications to everyday observations.
posted by GarageWine at 9:56 AM on January 16, 2006

I was always amused by this Game Theory analysis of Valentine's Day by James Miller.
posted by Gable Oak at 10:59 AM on January 16, 2006

The journal of theoretical biology regularly has articles about this kind of stuff. For example, there is this, although you may need a login, and they are pretty technical.
A search of pubmed for "marriage" and "game" and so on turns up some interesting results, as would google scholar.
posted by scodger at 8:31 PM on January 16, 2006

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