Saturday, November 20, 2010

Picking husbands. Reject the first 37%

Satoshi Kanazawa: Well it’s not just New York. Dating in any large city is difficult. In 1966 two mathematicians proved a theorem that showed that if you have to pick the best candidate… This applies to anything, dating, looking for a job candidate. If you have a pool of candidates that you haven’t seen and if your job is to pick the best candidate then it’s been mathematically proven that the best strategy to do is to reject the first 37% of the candidates regardless, so you just reject the first 37% of the candidates and then choose the next candidate that is better than all the candidates that you’ve seen before. So if you apply that to a dating situation that means that you have to reject the first 30% of all the people you date regardless and then you marry the one who is better than all the ones you’ve dated before. If you live in Iowa City or even smaller town in Iowa or anywhere else then you may get to date 10 people in your life, which means that you only have to reject 4 before you start getting serious about picking your mate. If you live in New York City you may meet a thousand people before you can start getting serious about finding a mate, so the larger the pool the more people you have to reject, more people you have to date and evaluate and then reject regardless before you can get serious about dating, so that is why if you live in a larger city where there are a larger pool of candidates then it’s more time consuming. It’s not just difficult. It’s more time consuming to have to find a mate, the best mate if you want the best mate.

HT: BigThink

I reckon there's more to it. The greater the inequality in husband quality in any given city (income etc) the greater the payoff from waiting.

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