Equilibrium in the Tinder Market?

September 8, 2017
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When demand shifts up we expect price to rise, …, or quality to fall. Worst-online-dater over at Medium.com has done some analysis of activity on Tinder. The nice thing about heterosexual matching markets is that there is are almost equal numbers of males as females. With a few exceptions, matches tend to be one-to-one. But, before settling down (and perhaps after), there appears to be much more interest by men in dating women than women in dating men. Normally this would lead to side payments but that has traditionally been frowned upon. So what other mechanism allocates scarce women to the surplus of men?

Quality, or at least attractiveness, sorts these scarce women to all these men. The curve between the pink and the blue represents equal numbers of Tinder “likes” by attractiveness percentile of men and women.

Men must be quite attractive to be “liked” on Tinder while women need not be.

In reality, the bottom 80% of men are fighting over the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are fighting over the top 20% of men.

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