Archives for relationships



Does Online Dating Save You Money?

Our recent podcast, “What You Don’t Know About Online Dating,” offered an economist’s guide to dating online. Here’s one more perk: a report by CovergEx Group estimates that online dating is more cost-efficient than traditional dating. From Business Insider

The ConvergEx folks, using data from statisticbrain.com, note the average courtship time for “off-line,” traditional dating ahead of a marriage runs around 42 months – or two years longer than the 18.5-month, average dating-to-marriage cycle for people who meet online.

And using that data, they came up with a formula.

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Why Marry? (Part 2): A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

In last week’s podcast, “Why Marry? (Part 1),” we talked with economists Justin Wolfers and Claudia Goldin about how marriage has changed over the last half century. How popular is marriage these days? Are married people happier? Is divorce as prevalent as we hear?

Now it’s time for “Why Marry? (Part 2).” (You can subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) With the U.S. marriage rate at an all-time low, around 50 percent, we try to find out the causes, and consequences, of the decline of the institution. Read More »



Why Marry? (Part 1): A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

This week’s episode is called “Why Marry?” (Part 1). (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

This episode is about all the ways that marriage has changed over the last 50 years. We begin by challenging some of the myths of modern marriage. For instance: does marriage make you happier? Is divorce as common as we think? The discussion then moves on to how the institution of marriage is perceived these days, and to what degree it has outlived its original purpose.

We begin by hearing the voices of people all around the country, talking about why they got married or want to. As you might imagine, their reasoning runs from pure romance (love!) to hardcore pragmatic (a visa, a pregnancy, to conform). Read More »



What You Don’t Know About Online Dating: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

This week’s episode is called “What You Don’t Know About Online Dating.” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

The episode is, for the most part, an economist’s guide to dating online. (Yes, we know: sexy!) You’ll hear tips on building the perfect dating profile, and choosing the right site (a “thick market,” like Match.com, or “thin,” like GlutenfreeSingles.com?). You’ll learn what you should lie about, and what you shouldn’t. Also, you’ll learn just how awful a person you can be and, if you’re attractive enough, still reel in the dates. Read More »



FREAKest Links

1. Emily Oster answers relationship questions for WSJ readers.

2. Researchers predict a 15 percent decrease in abortion rates if Roe is overturned.

3. Is self-selection responsible for music students’ superior scores on the SATs?

4. Fast food consumers underestimate calories.

5. A new web documentary series about Kickstarter funding.

6. “The Beat of Sports” interviews Dave Berri about his recent post on the value of coaches.



Crunching the Numbers on Love

I’ve spent the last few days crunching data from the largest-ever international survey of love.  Specifically, in 2006 and 2007, the Gallup World Poll went to 136 countries around the world and asked people, “Did you experience love for a lot of the day yesterday?” Betsey Stevenson and I report our initial analysis of the data in our latest column.  A snippet:

The good news: Ours is a loving world. On a typical day, about 70 percent of people worldwide reported a love-filled day. In the U.S., 81 percent felt love… Across the world as a whole, the widowed and divorced are the least likely to experience love. Married folks feel more of it than singles. People who live together out of wedlock report getting even more love than married spouses… If you’re young and not feeling all that loved this Valentine’s Day, don’t despair: You’re not alone. Young adults are among the least likely to experience love. It gets better with age, ultimately peaking in the mid-30s or mid-40s in most countries before fading again into the twilight years.

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It’s Not You, It’s the Data

At McSweeney’s, Josh Freedman breaks up with his girlfriend, economist-style:

Susan, we need to talk. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. About us. I really like you, but ever since we met in that econ class in college I knew there was something missing from how I felt: quantitative reasoning. We can say we love each other all we want, but I just can’t trust it without the data. And after performing an in-depth cost-benefit analysis of our relationship, I just don’t think this is working out.

Please know that this decision was not rash. In fact, it was anything but—it was completely devoid of emotion. I just made a series of quantitative calculations, culled from available OECD data on comparable families and conservative estimates of future likelihoods. I then assigned weights to various “feelings” based on importance, as judged by the relevant scholarly literature. From this, it was easy to determine that given all of the options available, the winning decision on both cost-effectiveness and comparative-effectiveness grounds was to see other people.

(HT: Greg Mankiw) Read More »



A Chance to Date One of The Most Eligible Bachelorettes in Chicago

We’ve had this blog for seven years.  This is the first time I have ever tried to use it play cupid.

Here’s the deal.  I have a close friend here in Chicago.  She is in her late twenties.  She is really smart. She has an extremely successful career.  She is incredibly pretty.

Here is a true story.  The first time my wife Jeannette met this friend, she was so shocked by my friend’s beauty that her jaw went slack, and she temporarily lost the ability to speak.  My wife later described her as the most beautiful woman she had ever seen in person.

Why, if she is so great, is she still single?  I don’t have a good explanation.  Partly, she works really hard so she doesn’t have that much opportunity to meet people.  Also, I suspect a lot of potential suitors are intimidated by her – I know I would have been.  She’s got a Ph.D. from a top university, she’s on top of the world professionally, she’s pretty. A man would need to be very self-confident to ask her out. Read More »