A recent study by economists Günter Hitsch, Ali Hortacsu (both at Univ of Chicago) and Dan Ariely (MIT) looked at self-reported information in dating profiles to see what affect they had upon the number of emails users received from potential suitors, writes Hal R. Varian in the NY Times.
Not surprisingly, the most important variable, for both men and women, is looks. Women posting a photo as part of their profile receive nearly twice as many email messages as those who don’t.
Men who said, in their profiles, that they earn more than $250,000 per year received 156% more emails than men who said they earned less than $50,000. Income, however, was less important in men’s selection of women to make contact with.
Men looking for a long-term relationship (LTR) received more email than those who stated they were looking for another type of partner, with those who stated they were looking for a "casual relationship" getting 42% fewer email responses. In contrast, women who stated they were looking for a casual relationship received 17% more emails.
None of these observations are particularly surprising. Whether it’s a bar close to a university campus or an online dating site, many people, both men and women, are initially attracted to someone because of their looks, cash earning potential, or the possibility of casual sex. Online and offline are a part of real life so the fact that dating, whether it’s online or offline, follows many of the same patterns really shouldn’t be surprising at all.