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Nash’s Equilibrium in Dating Apps

Nash’s Equilibrium, as learned in lecture, is a mixed strategy where each player’s unique strategy is optimal given the strategies of all opposing players. Now, one can think of Nash Equilibrium from the perspective of “players” who use dating apps. The general strategy of dating apps users is evident: A profile shows what gender someone is interested in, what personality traits they are looking for, etc. The general strategy is simply the main reason someone is on a dating app- to find a partner. However, the specific strategies of players who play the dating-app-game can vary greatly- and moreover, there is a split by gender.

In the dating-app world, heterosexual females seem to have the upper-hand- the dominant strategy. This is because this market is oversaturated with heterosexual males looking for counterparts. As a result, many straight females find themselves bombarded by all the men looking to flirt.  The disparity in quantity of people seeking one gender over the other causes a shift in Nash Equilibrium. Heterosexual women naturally raise their standards for men, while men, on the other hand, lower their standards. Obviously, this can be a destructive cycle for online dating platforms.

The article I linked below stresses why dating apps need to understand Nash Equilibrium. The author argues that it is too simple for a heterosexual man to show interest in a partner –for example, a “swipe right” on popular app Tinder. Because “swiping right” is so simple, some men will almost always swipe right to see which women are willing to chat with them. A collective effort from the men to be more selective could clearly help establish relationships at a much higher rate –if only that were possible. Another dating app, named Bumble, uses Nash Equilibrium to its advantage. On Bumble (a heterosexual app), only the female can message first; as a result, the matches made on Bumble are oftentimes a lot more productive.


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September 2018