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Why Did You Marry That Person?,Episode Transcript

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I should be settling. Settling is a very important idea to economists because of what we call search theory , [which] suggests that at some point you should realize that having what you have is better than expending more resources to try to do better.

So Paul Oyer is telling P. Vogt that P. is in pretty good shape, dating wise. VOGT: My friends and I talk about this all the time. My female friends and my male friends all feel that this is true. Men in New York and in cities where my friends live, everyone can actually feel these market forces and we talk about them.

And I hate them. That sounds terrible applied to dating. VOGT: Just the idea of that the search sucks, even if the search is like weighted in your favor. OYER: Okay, so a couple of things can help you out here: one is if the technology is good enough on the dating site, you want a huge dating site that gives you just a very, very small fraction of the available people on the site.

But just think about a boardwalk. At one end of the boardwalk is people who are completely incompatible for you, with you for one reason. At the other end of the boardwalk is people who are completely incompatible for you for another reason.

OYER: Then think of all the women who might be in your, potentially, in your market as being evenly distributed along this boardwalk, where the ones that happen to be right next to you are perfect fits for you, or very good fits for you. And the ones at the extremes are not. Well, obviously the more women on that boardwalk the better you are. This is what we call a thick market effect. It does have the opposite problem that thicker markets lead to more costs of screening all the potential candidates.

Now, does that make you nervous? If so, we can help. Coming up on Freakonomics Radio : how to build the best online dating profile ever:. OYER: As an economist, I look at that and I want to suggest the following: that you fill in more detail keeping in mind two ideas that are very important in economics.

Justin WOLFERS: The Internet has turned matching upside down. Now you see all the attributes and then you learn about compatibility later. You fill in your ethnicity, body type, diet, religion, income, astrological sign, the pets you love, or hate. The economist Paul Oyer, the author of Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating , told P.

OYER: As I discuss in the book, people lie all the time online. OYER: Okay, so you might not want to reveal that. VOGT: I mean, kind of, honestly. OYER: That may be true. OYER: In some of the questions it asks you how into deep conversations with your mate, and cuddling, and things like that you are. I may have made myself seem a bit more accessible in those dimensions than an honest person would say. So Paul Oyer admits he fibbed a little bit.

And if they send the wrong message, it might be better to tone them down a little bit. So… what kind of signals was P. Vogt sending out? I said I drink socially, which is stretching it a little bit. I probably drink more than socially. It says that I speak English okay. OYER: There you go, exactly. As an economist I look at that and I want to suggest the following: that you fill in more detail keeping in mind two ideas that are very important in economics.

They are statistical discrimination and adverse selection. OYER: No, no. One of them is they like rich men. I think I have a firm idea of the person who is probably going to like me. Can I throw a little economics jargon at you guys? OYER: What you want to remember in your profile is that you want to be very upfront and forthcoming in anything that is what an economist would call a coordination game. In my case, I was very upfront and forthcoming in my profile about the fact that I had a large and badly behaved golden retriever, and the fact that I have two teenaged children.

Because if somebody was against those things, then those were deal breakers. But the beauty of that is you still have plenty of time to learn that. You have time to experiment, make some mistakes, and then you have A time for the reasons we talk about and B you have this very thick market of available women where you live.

Well, it did. He found his significant other on JDate. Vogt, too. A few weeks after they talked, I asked P. how he changed his OkCupid profile:. VOGT: Generally, the sense that I got from talking to him was that I came off as a flippant alcoholic. So I was trying to diminish that. So I cut, I think, one reference to drinking. What I did … he said I should fill out more of the basic questions about me. VOGT: Yes. He told me to put in a picture of myself more presentable so I took a picture of myself from a wedding ….

DUBNER: Oh yeah. VOGT: Also, I put a picture with my dog, which felt like to the spirit of his advice, and a bunch of old ladies. DUBNER: Oh my god. You are canny! This is actually a perfect mirror, in a way, of the other picture of you at the wedding with four young good looking girls. Now here you are on a park bench — in what looks like Brooklyn — holding a dog. also tweaked his profile a bit, as Paul Oyer suggested. He tried to highlight some of his best attributes…. DUBNER: Look, it is hard for me to say, but I would think if I were a woman and any guy is listing his teeth as an attribute ….

So how did it work out for P. In the year since we first released this episode … He met a girl! On OkCupid! He also now hosts a podcast called Reply All. Which you should listen to, after you finish listening to this. But the strengths of online dating are very real. Justin Wolfers is an economist at the University of Michigan. All my Jewish friends talk about being under pressure from mom to meet a good Jewish boy or girl.

And here it is. Wow, how lucky is that? You got one vote already. Alright, take your time, all 60 seconds of it. DUBNER: Okay, time is up. We want to hear what you all came up with. She was such good friends with Amelia Earhart they were inseparable and when Amelia Earhart went missing, she was a huge proponent of the plan when the U. sent hundreds of ships around the area where she was last sent the radio, the last radio transmission.

DUBNER: Very good, okay, thank you very much. GLADWELL: Everyone thinks of focaccia as being some valuable part of some ancient Italian cultural culinary heritage.

It was invented by a guy in Milan in DUBNER: Really? In Italy though. Is it Milan, Italy, or Milan, New Jersey? DUBNER: Beautiful, thank you very much. And last but so not least. Ana Gasteyer and Seth, what can you tell us about indoor plumbing. SETH: So Mario, the only reason he was a plumber in the first place was a total accident based on the graphical limitations of the early video games.

Shigeru Miyamoto the guy who created Mario wanted a way to show form on his body so he made overalls to show the arms. And he wanted to show his face. So all the distinct hat, all the stuff that makes him a plumber it was all just because the computers back then kind of sucked. DUBNER: Wow, wow, fantastic. Just great. So that is, wowzer, those are so good. Okay, so before we have you all vote for the grand prize winner, Jody Avirgan, do you have anything to tell us on the factual level here?

AVIRGAN: Factual level. AVIRGAN: She was deep friends with Amelia Earhart. DUBNER: Oh boy. Now we know why you were a one-term governor! Okay, Jody, focaccia and Super Mario, anything on there? In ancient Rome, panis focacius was a flat bread baked on a hearth.

But you busted Malcolm. Malcolm what do you have to say for yourself? DUBNER: Wow, wow, wow. Alright, audience we are now going to ask you to pick our grand prize winner. And those are the criteria. What do you got? DUBNER: Substantial, very substantial. Team Gladwell with his partner Tom, focaccia, not so old, or maybe old. DUBNER: I believe you. Well, Malhaar, you remember at the very beginning of the show the former FBI agent we heard from earlier?

EZELL: Let me put it this way, the United States, all the colleges and universities in our country, award about 1. It will take us four to six weeks to get it printed to you. Maybe you want Harvard Law. Maybe something in animal husbandry. Listen, congratulations to Malhaar and all our other contestants. Thank you to our fantastic judges, Malcolm Gladwell, Ana Gasteyer, and David Paterson. Good night!

Freakonomics Radio Network Newsletter Stay up-to-date on all our shows. We promise no spam. Episode Transcript Hey, podcast listeners. Joel MEYER: Alright, so quiet everybody. Start in three, two… ANNOUNCER: Live from the Greene Space at WNYC in New York City, welcome to this Freakonomics Radio live event. DUBNER: Badge, black badge of courage. Was it for cause? GLADWELL: For cause. Yeah, absolutely. DUBNER: Can you tell us a tiny bit… GLADWELL: I was just incompetent.

I think that was the— DUBNER: Has your competence grown? DUBNER: What was he like? GLADWELL: Well, impatient with incompetence. DUBNER: Ana Gasteyer, hi. Ana GASTEYER: Hi.

DUBNER: We are so happy to have you here. GASTEYER: Thank you. GASTEYER: Yes, yes I am. I set her back for years, too. You know it is jazz you get drunk to, mostly. DUBNER: Nice. Alright, now Ana, can you tell us something now we do not know about you?

DUBNER: Wow, wow. David PATERSON: No it was fine. PATERSON: About a week. PATERSON: No. DUBNER: How good a basketball player are, or were you? DUBNER: No, why? Jody AVIRGAN: Thank you, Stephen. DUBNER: Who are you? What do you do? GLADWELL: Wow. When was this? SETH: Pinball machines were illegal until GLADWELL: Oh my goodness. PATERSON: Why were they illegal? DUBNER: Were they a mob racket?

You said thought to be. SETH: Maybe. Some of them probably were. GASTEYER: Do you believe that pinball is a chance game? DUBNER: Malcolm, Ana, Governor Paterson , anything more you want to prod Seth on?

PATERSON: Well, who actually liberated us of this curse? SETH: Yes. DUBNER: Okay, you can only go up to 10 now. GLADWELL: Oh, right. DUBNER: Eight, okay lovely, Malcolm Gladwell gives it an eight. DUBNER: Nine, they love you Seth Porges gorgeous. Governor Paterson? PATERSON: I give it a DUBNER: Sorry— PATERSON: Nine.

I was tempted to go to SETH: Go to Erin THOMPSON: Hello. DUBNER: I love your glasses. ERIN: Thank you. DUBNER: This is good radio talk, you know. DUBNER: So Erin, the message here is we should all steal more art, right? ERIN: I would have to catch you if you did, but… GLADWELL: Is there an example of a museum that really does have fantastic state of the art security?

PATERSON: Is there a museum in the White House? DUBNER: Jody, what do you know? Jody, you are a hell of a Googler. DUBNER: We should call it off. DUBNER: Governor Paterson? PATERSON: Eight. DUBNER: Want to tell us, why or keep that to yourself? DUBNER: Malcolm? This is— DUBNER: Erin Thompson. Will MCLEOD: Hey there, Stephen. DUBNER: What do you do?

Would you? DUBNER: Wait a minute, have we all thought that? DUBNER: Is that at least partially true? DUBNER: Edit! DUBNER: Will, awesome. Judges, want to know more? AVIRGAN: I got nothing. DUBNER: Losing weight through nose. DUBNER: Which could also be fun. DUBNER: Jody, losing weight through the nose? DUBNER: Oh, I believe every word of that. DUBNER: The hecklers are out, nice. So… DUBNER: Fair enough, six points from Malcolm Gladwell. And Ana Gasteyer?

Melissa SCHNEIDER: Hello. MELISSA: Pretty good. MELISSA: I am a dating and relationships counselor. DUBNER: You are wearing a heart shirt. Success story. DUBNER: Oh, your work is done. DUBNER: And now you do this for other people presumably? DUBNER: What do you get? MELISSA: One twenty-five a session. DUBNER: A hundred twenty-five thousand dollars?

MELISSA: Yes, that is correct. DUBNER: Positive illusions? GASTEYER: So it is rose-colored glasses, but manifested over a lifetime. MELISSA: But they work, and they seem to matter. MELISSA: Now, you sound like the early researchers.

So perhaps. PATERSON: Well, I knew them. DUBNER: Jody, is there such a thing as the awesomeness factor and does it work? MELISSA: Way better, yeah. MELISSA: Exactly, so find friends with a bad relationship, you shoot right up. AVIRGAN: Exactly. DUBNER: Malcolm, what do you want to score this, and why?

And, as Helen Fisher will tell you, there is also a metaphysical reason to marry. FISHER: People pine for love. They live for love. They kill for love, and they die for love. And when you think about — I mean the myths, the legends, the poems, the stories, the novels, the sitcoms, the operas, the plays, the symphonies, the ballets, the therapists, the holidays.

For an economist, love is tricky. What sort of dataset can you use to measure love? That, again, is Marc Goñi, who studies marriage markets. It captures the idea of two sides looking to form a match.

Dowries are still common in rural India, for instance. That, of course, is not how marriage works in the U. and most other high-income places. Marriage here is mostly an autonomous decision, and it involves a search. You go on some bad dates and maybe a few good ones; you evaluate potential partners until you find the right one. In some cases, you do nearly everything associated with marriage, including living together , before you actually marry. In some places, you do all this and you never marry.

GOÑI: If I compare myself and my friends to the generation of my parents, you see that both ended up in long-term relationships, but the marriage rate is much lower nowadays. The marriage rate in Europe since the s has halved. So, although we still observe many long-term relationships, most of these long-term partnerships now take a different form.

Americans consider this type of long-term partnering, including having children together, as a European style. Since , the share of cohabiting, non-married couples has more than doubled.

So that may help explain a bit of the U. marriage decline. Another factor is education. In other words, do we pair off with people because of our similarities, or because we tend to meet people who are similar to us? GOÑI: What we observe is the final outcome. We observe who marries whom. GOÑI: There are a couple of studies that have tried to identify preferences by looking at data from dating apps and from these speed-dating experiments where you can, as a researcher, control who meets whom.

And these studies, in general, tend to show that in many dimensions, there is a preference for assortative matching. DUBNER: In other words, in a dating market, you might see more experimentation or more deviating from your core preferences, whereas marriage you only do it once or maybe twice or three times.

The anthropologist Helen Fisher, in her work with the dating company Match. com, has spent the past 12 years trying to understand what Americans are looking for in a partner. FISHER: We poll 5, Americans every year. This is a national representative sample of singles based on the U. Every age from 18 to plus. Rural, suburban, urban. Every part of the country. Black, white, Asian, Latino, et cetera, et cetera. FISHER: Over 50 percent of Americans do want a partner who shares their political views.

About 43 percent want a partner who is of the same ethnic background. About 46 percent want somebody of the same religious background. FISHER: You never know, Stephen. I do a lot of questionnaires and you can answer a questionnaire in one of three ways: with who you really are, with who you want to be, or with who you want others to think you are.

DUBNER: And does that necessarily mean that likes attract, or can it also include opposites attract? FISHER: Yes, people who like to play tennis tend to be drawn to people who like to play tennis. We do know that people tend to fall in love with somebody from the same ethnic and socioeconomic background, same degree of intelligence, good looks and education, same religious and social values, and same reproductive and economic goals.

For instance, what kind of socioeconomic effects might we see from assortative mating? If high-income people only marry other high-income people and low-income people do the same, what does that mean for social mobility and income inequality? These are the kind of questions that Marc Goñi has been thinking about. GONI: It seems that inequality is very persistent over very long periods of time. So in order to understand this process and why this inequality has survived massive political changes, revolutions, and so on, there has to be something that we economists were missing.

And part of it is these marriage decisions, how to pass down wealth, how to educate your children. And marriage is a very important determinant of this long-term inequality. Or are you more interested in disrupting it for the sake of society?

An extreme concentration of wealth and income, especially when it comes to being concentrated in the hands of very few individuals, can distort many of the important political processes in society. When you have a bunch of people that are very rich and monopolize a lot of the wealth in the society, they also take over the institutions. COURT ANNOUNCER : Miss Daphne Bridgerton!

That again is Marc Goñi, an economist at the University of Bergen in Norway who studies marriage markets. GOÑI: So every year for six months, there was the Parliament season.

And in 19 th -century Britain, this meant that aristocrats from all over the country converged on London to attend the sessions in the House of Lords. Is that right? In all of England, this is, yes? GOÑI: Exactly, families. They rented a house in London. And soon, this developed into the social season. DUBNER: Wait a minute, Marc — they had to rent a house? GOÑI: No, the typical practice was to rent a house.

You needed a house large enough to organize big balls. This only happened when you had marriageable daughters. What are my incentives as a parent? What am I looking for? GOÑI: The essence of the Season was that by the 19th century, arranged marriages were no longer acceptable. So parents could not directly choose who their children married. So here was a very well-defined marriage market, with a finite set of players and clear incentives — a perfect scenario for an economist who studies marriage.

And these records are preserved in the British National Archives. GOÑI: I was there in this archive with this massive dusty book with the list of all the 19th-century people invited to royal parties, which was great fun. And I might have thought that was an invention of Shonda Rhimes for the purposes of Bridgerton.

GOÑI: Exactly. So the Queen played an essential role in the Season. First, as it is shown in the first episode of Bridgerton , there is this presentation at court where young girls are introduced by a sponsor, usually their mother. COURT ANNOUNCER : Miss Prudence Featherington; Miss Phillipa Featherington; and Miss Penelope Featherington. GOÑI: And they are announced to the queen. But this was a very important event.

And it constituted an announcement of who was on the marriage market. And the courtship process would start from that point onwards. So given that marriage was such an important thing for the aristocracy, the Queen here had something to gain by playing this central role in the marriage market. She could choose who would be presented at the court.

She would choose who would be invited to the parties. So that was a way to make sure that these aristocrats would always be aligned with her interests. These aristocrats of marriageable age attended only the parties that included others in their social sphere.

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 · Now, here at Freakonomics Radio our mission has always been to tell you a) things you always thought you knew but didn’t, and b) things you never thought you wanted to  · Things are a bit different now. The device on which you’re listening to this show also has the capability of connecting you to an online market of thousands, perhaps millions When Stephen Dubner learned that Dallas–Fort Worth will soon overtake Chicago as the third-biggest metro area in the U.S., he got on a plane to find out why. Despite getting stood up by  · A New Freakonomics Marketplace Podcast. Jan 19, This year alone has seen teacher-cheating scandals in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Atlanta, and elsewhere; in Each week, Freakonomics Radio tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do) — from the economics of sleep to  · IMDb is the world's most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content. Find ratings and reviews for the newest movie and TV shows. Get ... read more

Justin Wolfers is an economist at the University of Michigan. Episode 51 What Can We Do About the Hardest Patients? So that may help explain a bit of the U. Coming up on Freakonomics Radio : how to build the best online dating profile ever:. So the Queen played an essential role in the Season.

Does breathing faster mean I lose more weight? And just recently, a week or so ago, you ran the 5th Avenue mile here in New York and placed fifth in your age group with a time of, this is fantastic, four minutes and 54 seconds freakonomics podcast what you don know about online dating the mile. DUBNER: If it were less interesting it would have gotten a seven, then, right. VOGT: Just the idea of that the search sucks, even if the search is like weighted in your favor. Episode Transcript Marc Goñi is from Spain, but a few years ago he moved to Norway. OYER: As I discuss in the book, people lie all the time online. VOGT: Long walks in the rain.

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