Education and Online Dating:
When we assess a future partner, is education an important criteria for matching success? Intelligence, appearance, social status, chemistry and of course age are fundamental. But what about education? According to research carried out by David Ong in Applied Economics, an online dating field experiment he carried out brought fascinating results.
Is it a Factor?
Education and Other Factors in Finding a Partner
Similar educational standards would be important when it comes to mate selection: as many would assume. Similar culture and education experiences would, assumingly, help to strengthen the connection and ensure that the relationship is a success. The problem here is that education is linked with a number of other advantages that can be quite attractive: namely, income.
The Online Dating Field Experiment
388 fake profiles were made: 208 male and 180 female, all on a Chinese online dating site. Females had six educational levels: the males received randomly assigned ones ranging from vocational education to Master’s degree level. Profile visits came from summaries of real dating profiles. These outlined factors such as income statistics and education.
According to the statistics for men visiting female profiles, educational level didn’t affect the number of views. However, when women visited men (women from educational levels, that is), the number of visits increased the higher the education level. These visits grew more and more when income increased. Highly education women who visited men were clicking more on profiles that showed higher incomes. It seems that education is little more than a by-product of a factor that is far more motivating: income.
Ong concluded, "Our evidence from randomly assigned levels of education and income, suggests that relationship public goods that stem from a common level of education are not at the forefront of either men's or women's minds in China. Furthermore, women's preferences for higher mate income may be an unacknowledged contributing factor in the educational homogamy found in prior studies."
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