Dating economics

Even for the men, the benefits may well be worth the price.

Bumble has several other features that strategically influence users’ behaviour in order to lead more users into real conversations.

Kang reports that American dating apps traditionally had a ratio of roughly 60% men to 40% women, “which doesn’t sound that extreme, but if you actually take into account activity level – guys are twice as active as women – the gender ratio becomes even more lopsided; in the active user base it’s more like .” This kind of skewed ratio can have huge effects on users’ incentives; as Tim Harford, an economist, has written, even a slight imbalance in a market radically shifts power away from the over-represented group, as they are forced to compete hard or remain single.

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(Coffee Meets Bagel recently switched to a model with more, but still limited, daily matches).

Perhaps the saddest part of online dating’s tragedy of the commons is that matches, unlike fish, are not remotely interchangeable.

The men (let alone the women) would benefit from a collective agreement to each send fewer and higher-quality messages, but have no way to co-ordinate such an agreement.

When Coffee Meets Bagel launched, one selling point was its enforcement of such a policy: users received just one match per day.

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