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Relationships as a market

In this blog, I will examine relationships abstractly viewed as a market. Specifically, it will focus on intimate relationships that will be taken to span attraction, dating, courting and marriage phases between couples. The agents are people and a couple should be restricted to two agents who are compatible with each other. In this market, the currencies for exchange may range from emotion (love), security, validation, reputation to satisfaction among others. Among these currencies, we will focus on security and love as the item being exchanged in the market assuming they come as a package. The assumption is based on my individual bias that the two items can never be mutually exclusive for a couple to function well. Also, it’s based on interpreting security as a provision that one party in a couple provides that the other party needs but cannot individually “generate” to satisfy them and vice versa. This choice of market is based on my interest in psychology of intimate relationships. Mainly why intimate relationships should be viewed as partnerships instead of solely love or security driven “adventures” as they usually are.


This market could be modeled based as a love-security combination as the main design feature. Assuming that each member of any particular couple has a preference list of all possible partners they are compatible with based on the love-security measure, we create a networked market model whose goal is to match parties to maximize satisfaction per the measure. We could create a mechanism based on assumptions including but not limited to assuming parties are initially single, dating/married (that is have an initial endowment), have weak or strict preferences that may be complete or incomplete or no preferences at all (for people who prefer being alone) to find matchings in this market. If we were to introduce money in this market as the only currency, then it leads to relationship dynamics that are existent in the current society.


Alternatively, we could use reputation or other societal-measures as the main feature to measure satisfaction and design mechanisms to create matchings. This would be assuming that whatever society gives approval to would be the basis with which the agents will determine their preference list. In general, there are many other features that could be used to design this market as might be reflected on dating sites but this model is meant to extrapolate the idea to a personal level even to those without access to technology.





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