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Dating Preferences and Meeting Opportunities in Mate Choice Decisions

From: Journal of Human Resources
Volume 48, Number 2, Spring 2013
pp. 474-508 | 10.1353/jhr.2013.0010



Much empirical evidence shows that female and male partners look alike along a variety of attributes. It is, however, unclear how this positive sorting comes about because marriage is an equilibrium outcome arising from a process that entails searching, meeting, and choosing one another. This study takes advantage of unique data to shed light on the forces driving choices at the earliest stage of a relationship. Both women and men value physical attributes, such as age and weight, and reveal that their dating choices are assortative along several traits. Importantly, meeting opportunities have a substantial role in determining dating proposals.