Research ArticleSOCIAL SCIENCES

Aspirational pursuit of mates in online dating markets

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Science Advances  08 Aug 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 8, eaap9815
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aap9815
  • Fig. 1 Histograms of the number of first messages received by men and women in each of our four cities.
  • Fig. 2 Desirability, quantified using the measures defined here, as a function of demographic variables of the user population.

    (Left) Desirability as a function of age for women and men. (Middle) Desirability by ethnicity. (Right) Desirability by highest educational level completed. Error bars are ±1 SE.

  • Fig. 3

    (Top) Upper curves show probability density for women and men of the median desirability gap, the difference in desirability rank of receiver and sender of an initial contact. Both women and men tend to contact others who are ranked somewhat—but not excessively—higher than themselves. The lower curves show the probability of receiving a reply to an initial message given the desirability gap between sender and receiver. Women have higher overall probability of receiving replies, but both women and men have substantially lower probability of replies from more desirable partners. (Bottom) Lower curves show the average number of people contacted by individuals as a function of their average desirability gap. Upper curves show the interquartile range (IQR) of desirability of the people contacted, controlling for number of people contacted. Neither set of curves extends all the way to the left of the figure, because there is insufficient data to make reliable estimates in this regime.

  • Fig. 4

    (Top) Upper curves show the total number of words in initial messages, which increases with desirability gap. Lower curves show the fraction of positive words in messages, which increases slightly for messages sent by women but decreases for messages sent by men. (Bottom) Expected payoffs to writing longer and more positive messages, holding desirability gap at its city-specific mean. We see that longer messages are positively associated with response rates only for women and men in Seattle. Positive messages are somewhat negatively associated with response rates for men; women have mixed success with more positive messages, depending on the city.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/4/8/eaap9815/DC1

    Section S1. Background literature

    Section S2. Descriptive statistics

    Section S3. Supplementary analyses

    Table S1. User attributes for four metropolitan areas.

    Table S2. Fractional regression of desirability on individual attributes—selected coefficients.

    Table S3. Message length by desirability gap.

    Table S4. Proportion of positive words in message by desirability gap.

    Table S5. Probability of reply by message length, conditional on desirability gap.

    Table S6. Probability of reply by percent of positive words, conditional on desirability gap.

    Fig. S1. Age distribution of men (blue) and women (red) in each city.

    References (3340)

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Section S1. Background literature
    • Section S2. Descriptive statistics
    • Section S3. Supplementary analyses
    • Table S1. User attributes for four metropolitan areas.
    • Table S2. Fractional regression of desirability on individual attributes—selected coefficients.
    • Table S3. Message length by desirability gap.
    • Table S4. Proportion of positive words in message by desirability gap.
    • Table S5. Probability of reply by message length, conditional on desirability gap.
    • Table S6. Probability of reply by percent of positive words, conditional on desirability gap.
    • Fig. S1. Age distribution of men (blue) and women (red) in each city.
    • References (3340)

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