Thursday, June 6

Princeton's Marriage Market Theory Worked for Me

From an aesthetic and romantic perspective it sounds cold blooded and far too planned. But there is truth in this article. Human behaviour can be modelled. Even if you are not interested in economics, your behaviour and the way society and fellow individuals act behave and are structured are based in economics. 

The benefits of marriage are many and are well known. So in terms of maximising your life's happiness, be on the lookout for a good partner at LSE or Oxford or Cambridge wherever you go. This is the best population for you to find your partner. After this, the chances drop dramatically. It's simple statistics and macroeconomics that you will never come across such watering holes with such high density of potential mates. Don't rely on blind luck son. 

So find a mate by the time you graduate in 20-22 years in uni. This doesn't mean you become celibate. Far from it. Explore. But when you find the one and the point is to find the one in uni. Be with them. Marriage around 25-28 and life will be good. Any changes to this timeline and your lifetime happiness will be reduced or be suboptimal. Simple economics. 

Of course shit happens but plan and aim for the best and prepare for the worst. 



Princeton's Marriage Market Theory Worked for Me - Bloomberg

Most of my research deals with the economics of cities, but I have a smattering of knowledge in the minor field of spouse-meeting at Princeton.

There is usually little demand for such arcana — the American Economic Association has never held a symposium on the topic — but the blogospheric explosion after an alumna’sletter to the Daily Princetonian advising female students to “find a husband on campus before you graduate” led my editor to urge me to weigh in.

While I don’t feel I can provide advice to young women, I am comfortable, based on both personal experience and the infallible majesty of economic theory, urging young male Princetonians to view your female classmates as prospective long-term friends and spouses (the qualifications for the two roles having much in common), rather than short-term amorous encounters.

The letter writer, Susan Patton, is surely right that for many people, college years provide the high point of intense exposure to a wide range of prospective life partners.       

However, my own finely tuned algebraic simulations of an optimal spousal-search model find that while college provides an ideal time to accumulate a large stock of good friends (prospective spouses), it is typically suboptimal to wed at age 21 because of preference uncertainty and the benefits of continuing to meet alternatives.

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