Economists Do It With Models

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“Graphic” Content, Dating Edition…

September 3rd, 2009 · 16 Comments
Just For Fun

I think it is pretty clear that I like funny graphs. There are many such items on the Internet, so I see a lot more of them than I actually post. I liked the following one, but thought that it wasn’t quite post worthy on its own, for example:

Obviously, my initial thought was “or maybe it’s because you spend all of your time posting nerdy graphs on the Internet.” And then I spent a while deciding whether I wanted to be the pot or the kettle. (I chose the pot, in case you are curious. I think it’s because I can’t whistle.) While I was contemplating this, a friend reminded me of the following xkcd comic:

*sigh* Somewhere at the edge of the bell curve is the guy for me…

Hm. I feel like I should add in something economics-y here just out of principle. Luckily, this line of reasoning reminds me of a paper by Claudia Goldin and Larry Katz entitled “The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women’s Career and Marriage Decisions” that basically shows that the wide availability of birth control has in fact widened the dating pool for older people. (I think the authors refer to the phenomenon as creating a “thicker marriage market” than previously existed at older ages.) Here’s the abstract of the paper (again, lots of words):

The fraction of U.S. college graduate women entering professional programs increased substantially just after 1970, and the age at first marriage among all U.S. college graduate women began to soar around the same year. We explore the relationship between these two changes and the diffusion of the birth control pill (“the pill”) among young, unmarried college graduate women. Although the pill was approved in 1960 by the Food and Drug Administration and spread rapidly among married women, it did not diffuse among young, single women until the late 1960s after state law changes reduced the age of majority and extended “mature minor” decisions. We present both descriptive time series and formal econometric evidence that exploit cross‐state and cross‐cohort variation in pill availability to young, unmarried women, establishing the “power of the pill” in lowering the costs of long‐duration professional education for women and raising the age at first marriage.

I cannot stop chuckling at how much more extensive Claudia’s wikipedia page (linked to above) is than Larry’s. I also find it funny that Claudia and Larry write about the economics of marriage and family and are involved in some sort of long-term on-again off-again relationship that I cannot claim to understand. I suppose those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach? 🙂

Tags: Just For Fun

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 KG // Sep 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    And those who can’t teach, teach gym.

  • 2 PeterM // Sep 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    The very last cartoon bubble resonated with me. It would seem that for someone having a very high intelligence and or education level, and assuming they wanted to date someone at or near that level, that the dating pool is very small. And then I thought that if one is in the middle of the curve, it’s like a dating buffet. (Of course one uses other factors in selecting a mate, but intelligence level is a pretty big filter.)

  • 3 Carl Peter Klapper // Sep 3, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    The pill also reduces the need to be married by reducing the probability that long-term sexual liaisons will result in offspring and thus the need for a family led by married partners to take care of them. If dating without any intent to marry allows a wider range of years of non-creepiness than dating toward marriage, then the number of eligible dates for each person may be even wider then your analysis shows.

    On the other hand, the key missing factor is romantic destiny. For those of us who have been around the block a few times and have married compatible partners reasonably close to our own age and then dumped by them and divorced, no closeness in age or other characteristics will make up for someone not being “the one” and no distance in these will take “the one” out of consideration for marriage.

  • 4 Agnitio // Sep 3, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    This graph is clearly nonsense. I am good looking, have a fun personality, am not shy, hang out with the popular crowd, earn an above average salary and most importantly I have recently switched from a level 80 paladin to a lvl80 mage…..

    The graph either needs an “other” category, or do you think that since I once played a lvl80 paladin I am tainted for life?

  • 5 Ben // Sep 3, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Agnitio, if you switched from a level 80 paladin to a level 80 mage, there is still hope for having a girlfriend. Believe I read a study that it’s not until you commandeer a level 80 death knight that the odds of companionship become insurmountable.

  • 6 Agnitio // Sep 3, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    That sounds about right Ben. Given that DKs work upon the premise of being able to “faceroll” (literally rolling your face across the keyboard) their way to success, I can see how they might have problems with the ladies…

    Although now that I think about it, maybe “game” as practiced by Roissy and bemoaned by Tyler Cowen
    is the real world equivilent of facerolling? So maybe your DK theorum is wrong?

  • 7 jimbo slice // Sep 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I really thank people st8 trippin and dey need to keep it gangsta. i got em ladies and i do all these thangs

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