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Searching for a mate

A very well known real-world situation that can be abstractly viewed as a market would be searching for a mate. In a sense, it is not so different from many other things that we do in our life, e.g. looking for a job, applying for school, where to eat for lunch, etc. Prospective partners, like jobs, each have their strengths and weaknesses. This is a two-sided market and the agents are the single people that come into the market and the things on the other side of the market are other single people. These agents don’t really know the other single people that are available to them, but they get to interact with each other and get to know more about each other before deciding anything in the market. The ‘things’ being allocated in this market is other people, more specifically prospective partners of an agent who are also looking for prospective partners. However, these allocations are different from other allocations, in that both parties must be enthusiastic about the match for it to happen.


It is hard to describe the currency in this market completely because it consists of many things and none of these things are materialistic like money. One of the thing the ‘currency’ consists of is definitely “happiness”. People who are in a relationship are usually much more happier with the person they are in the relationship with. So being happy is like receiving currency from the prospective partner. In addition, an “experience” with someone is unique and can not be replaced. This is something a person can get from being in a specific relationship which are the matchings in this market. And this experience can be traded in this market. And also “attention” that an agent has to offer and give is another factor to the currency because you can give and get. In addition, social-psychological rewards can also make up part of the ‘currency’. For example, being with someone can definitely improve a person’s reputation and this is desirable. The currency in this market would be meaningfully exchanged between the pair of agents because both agents in a relationship are in the same position as the other, they exchange all the things that make up the “currency”.


One of the design feature in this market would be new technological advances such as Tinder. These new dating apps has greatly changed the dating market. Since now everyone has a phone and many people has access to the internet, it is so much easier for people to “meet” over the internet since all people have to do is to make a profile and upload some pictures. The chances of you meeting another person has increased greatly. In return, this would add more edges between the nodes on the two sides in our market giving us more choices when making matchings. Another alternative to dating apps is social gatherings to meet other people. This will greatly change the market because of many factors. First, because in order to be invited to a social gathering, an agent  must be socially active and so this requires time and effort. And those who are on top of the social game would be doing very well in this market and there will be many edges coming out of these agents to other people. In addition, doing well in this market would be very hard for people who are shy and uncomfortable in social gatherings. These agents would be left with very little choices, and often the choices they are left with are other people that they are very close with and part of their “friend circle”. Therefore, a market with this design will contain many constricted sets and making a perfect matching very hard. In all, it is very interesting to apply networks principles to our everyday lives.



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