If a man and a woman meet on the internet, who will be more eager to exchange phone numbers? And who will be happiest with this contact info afterwards? The answers to these two questions are unexpectedly different. The dating market has its own ways, new research reveals.
To test how game behavior works when there are non-traditional prizes involved, researchers of the University of Maryland played an old trading game with new material: dating partners. As expected, they found the so called ‘endowment-effect’, but it was much bigger in women than in men.
The endowment-effect is the difference in value that a seller attaches to an object compared to what the buyer would give. It has been demonstrated in various experiments: when people are asked to hypothetically ‘sell’ an object they put a higher prize on it than when they are asked to ‘buy’ it.
This effect also occurred when participants were asked for what prize they would buy or sell the contact information of dating partners. As hypothetical owners they valued the information much more than as potential buyers.
But this difference was much higher in women than in men. Values given by ‘seller’ and ‘buyer’ women differed on average $9,37, while with men this was only $2,70. Why this big difference? The researchers are themselves quite puzzled by these results. But they do give some possible explanations.
Maybe it’s because it has always been more beneficial for women to keep their partner close than it was for men. It could also be an expression of the typical risk-taking behavior of men and women. Females have often been found to play it safer than males. These tendencies could both have led to women preferring an acquired partner over a new one, more than men do.
Other researchers just found out women and men also organize their social networks differently.
Photo: Tax Credits
Source: peer reviewed by my neurons
Nataf, C., & Wallsten, T. (2013). Love the One You’re With: The Endowment Effect in the Dating Market Journal of Economic Psychology DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2013.01.009
endowment effect definition, endowment effects