Thursday, February 14, 2019

Matching story for Valentine's day--BBC

Valentine's Day sparks a demand not just for love, but also for stories about marriage as a matching market.  This year I was among those interviewed by the BBC.  Below are two links:  you can listen to the interviews, or read a summary.

First, the interviews: They go for 18 minutes, and are easy listening.  I'm interviewed third, beginning just before minute 10 and going to about minute 14.   (I didn't see a way to embed it) :

Rational Partner Choice: "Should your head trump your heart when seeking lifelong love? We ask an economist, a romantic novelist and a hyper-rationalist businessman this Valentine's Day challenge."

(There actually are 4 interviews, the fourth is with the wife of the businessman, Ed Conard: they've been happily married for 20 years.)

The written summary has me as the middle of three views on the subject (the headline below reflects the first of the views they considered, with marriage modeled as an optimal stopping problem).

Forget love: This is how to find your perfect partner  By Justin Rowlatt

Here's what they say about their conversation with me:

"Mr Conard's approach to choosing a wife is a well-established method for buying things like a new place to live but, says Nobel Prize winning economist Alvin Roth, spouses aren't like houses: marriage is a market without prices.
"He agrees that it is important to meet quite a few possible partners before you take the plunge - "don't marry the first person you meet", he warns.

"You've also got to have realistic expectations: "the first thing a matrimonial agency has to do is persuade clients they aren't a 10."

"But, he says, you can do too much calibrating and evaluating. Choosing a partner is a two-way thing: it is only when you are serious about marriage that potential partners will take you seriously.

"Part of being well matched is the history you share and this starts when you first meet", Prof Roth says, "so investing in that history improves the quality of that match."
And here are my Valentine's Day blog posts to date.

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