With more and more people turning to online dating, do the same old stereotypes that dogged people in the real world still exist? According to Paul Oyer they do, mainly beauty and wealth go a long way…
Luis, who prefers to use only his first name, is a 27 year old from Los Angeles. He recently broke up with his girlfriend of six years and is trying to find love once again. Wary of the traditional routes of dating, he has tried a new method. “I’ve try to meet girls through friends or at bars, but it never worked out for me, he said, “so I have turned to the wonders of online dating.”
Luis is not the only one wanting to find romance via the internet. Research by the Pew Center has found that 11 percent of Americans adults and 38 percent of those who are currently “single and looking,” have used a dating site or mobile dating app. It boils down to “one in every ten Americans” now turn to the internet to find their next date.
When asked how his endeavor was panning out, he sounded hopeful, “so far I’ve been on a few dates, but have’t met anyone I like.” For about three months now, Luis has been active on Ok Cupid and Tinder. Luis pulls out his iPhone and shows me some women he has gone on dates with from Tinder, which GQ magazine has called the fasting growing dating app in the world.
For those not in the know, Tinder works as a glorified version of hot or not. The app shows photos of each participant from each person’s Facebook account. If both participants approve of each other, the participants can start communicating with each other through the app. Tinder was only launched 16 months ago, but now seems upwards of 600 million uses a day.
After a look at some of his success stories on Tinder, Luis hesitantly shows me his Ok Cupid profile, another dating app that follows suite to that of match.com.
While looking through his personal details, I noticed something right away. The amount he has listed as his annual income is inflated from what he told me earlier. Luis who works as a sound engineer makes a decent living, but the amount his listed is double his actual salary.
When asked about the discrepancy Luis gave a simple answer, “women like a guy with money.”
What sounds like a dated stereotype, actually has some truth behind it, according to economist Paul Oyer. In his new book Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating, the Stanford professor has parlayed his knowledge to the dating world.
After taking a dive into the online dating universe and meeting his girlfriend on Jdate.com, Oyer discovered that online dating functions similar to labor markets, his field of expertise. In a recent interviews on the Freakonomics podcast, Oyer discussed the truths about online dating. His research found some truth to age-old stereotypes, that beauty and wealth go a long way.
In his interview, Oyer stated some statistics that came from Ok Cupid. One found that looks really do pay off, “a hot woman receives roughly four times the messages an average-looking woman gets and 25 times as many as an ugly one.” Hot men also received similar attention, where “the very hottest 5 percent of men get twice as many emails as men” who are not in the top 5 percent.
A male’s profession also affected how attractive males were to women. Women were found to be more attracted to lawyers, doctors, men in the military and firefighters. For those who want to the firefighter of their dreams, sites like meetfirefighters.com can help make that happen.
Now for the reasoning behind Luis’ inflated income. Oyer found in another study that income had a large effect in how men were perceived as attractive by women. Given similar looks, men that make $250,000 per year, were “contacted two and a half times as much as a man who makes $50,000 or less and looks the same.”
So making six figures a year will make the ladies swoon over a guy, more so than the guy’s twin who makes $50K.
Given Oyer’s research and ever growing competition in online dating, Luis’ attempt at fluffing his Ok Cupid profile seems totally reasonable. Among the millions of people who are using apps like Tinder and Ok Cupid, Luis had to do something to stand out from other suitors. Banking on that old stereotype, Luis double downed on the financial incentives to have a night out with him.
When asked what would happen if the women he dated, perhaps lured in by his inflated income, found out the truth. He said he had not thought that far ahead and just hoped that they would not ask to see his bank account.
"Hallow," said the lanky one.
"What," replied the short one.
"It’s holy, or at least it feels that way."
The short one looked confused and looked for clarification.
The commotion was over a little mason jar; stained a light hue of brown over the years.
"It was Jimmy’s," shot the lanky one to his confused friend.
"Oh. And that makes it holy"
Jimmy was since dead and gone. An auto accident on the northbound 15, left poor Jimmy pinned behind his steering wheel.
"It’s the only thing we have left of him," answered the lanky one.
"And what about the money he owed us" clamored the short one with great discontent. "It’s just a worthless jar."
His rage now starting to show above his brow, the short one grabbed the jar from this friend’s dirt covered hand, and tossed it to the asphalt below.
And like that, all that was left of poor Jimmy was scattered across the street.