Last summer, a video went viral showing a guy asking a girl out on a date via drone after seeing her dancing on a neighboring rooftop. Because the invitation came at the height of the first COVID lockdown, they began the date with a socially distanced dinner on their respective roofs, and later went for a romantic walk wearing a full-body bubble suit while the world watched over TikTok. The video perfectly visualized that in the costs of finding a new partner had suddenly skyrocked. Prior to the pandemic, I had been on countless dates. Some dates I met at events or through friends and others on dating apps.
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Read This Story to Learn How Behavioral Economics Can Improve Marketing
An Introduction to Behavioral Economics
More recently, a plethora of market-minded dating books are coaching singles on how to seal a romantic deal, and dating apps, which have rapidly become the mode du jour for single people to meet each other, make sex and romance even more like shopping. The idea that a population of single people can be analyzed like a market might be useful to some extent to sociologists or economists, but the widespread adoption of it by single people themselves can result in a warped outlook on love. M oira Weigel , the author of Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating , argues that dating as we know it—single people going out together to restaurants, bars, movies, and other commercial or semicommercial spaces—came about in the late 19th century. What dating does is it takes that process out of the home, out of supervised and mostly noncommercial spaces, to movie theaters and dance halls. The application of the supply-and-demand concept, Weigel said, may have come into the picture in the late 19th century, when American cities were exploding in population. Read: The rise of dating-app fatigue.
And they do, but only sometimes, which is one of the key insights of the growing field of behavioral economics. Researchers have found abundant evidence that people often are more irrational about finances, investing and reading markets than previously known. Understanding how biased and oversimplified thinking can influence perspective can be fascinating-and very useful to investors.
The authors report on experiments designed to determine whether financial and non-financial rewards affect student performance on standardized diagnostic tests in reading and math. They focus on tests taken about three times a year by students in elementary and high school. Their sample includes almost 7, students from over 30 schools in low-performing school districts in and around Chicago. Scores did improve, with mid-range improvement equal to 0. Both financial and non-financial rewards improved scores more robustly when they were framed as losses rather than as gains.