American Economic Review: Vol. 100 No. 1 (March 2010)


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Matching and Sorting in Online Dating

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Hitsch, Gunter J., Ali Hortaçsu, and Dan Ariely. 2010. "Matching and Sorting in Online Dating." American Economic Review, 100(1): 130-63.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.1.130


Using data on user attributes and interactions from an online dating site, we estimate mate preferences, and use the Gale-Shapley algorithm to predict stable matches. The predicted matches are similar to the actual matches achieved by the dating site, and the actual matches are approximately efficient. Out-of- sample predictions of offline matches, i.e., marriages, exhibit assortative mating patterns similar to those observed in actual marriages. Thus, mate preferences, without resort to search frictions, can generate sorting in marriages. However, we underpredict some of the correlation patterns; search frictions may play a role in explaining the discrepancy. (JEL C78, J12)

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Hitsch, Gunter J. (U Chicago)
Hortaçsu, Ali (U Chicago)
Ariely, Dan (Duke U)

JEL Classifications

C78: Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
J12: Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse

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