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Eligible Bachelor Paradox

The Eligible Bachelor Paradox is a social observation that becomes intriguing and at times frustrating to those in their mid-thirties.  In this article, Mark Gimein describes how to use the different bidding behavior in asymmetric auctions to understand the Eligible Bachelor Paradox, which states that there are far fewer eligible bachelors than attractive bachelorettes at older age groups.  There are many assumptions concerning the actions of men and women, including women holding the single decision of yes or no; however, the article does point out many interesting connections between social relationships and game theory.

The article revolves on a central idea that attractive women will hesitate on accepting “bids” from eligible bachelors in order to hold out for a better match.  On the other hand, less attractive women will try more aggressively in order to outbid the more attractive women.  This leads to the unexpected outcome where the more attractive women will be left without a man, since they were too selective, whereas the less attractive women were accepted by the men.  In class, this article fits well with the auction with some extra complications regarding if men or women are the items or bidders.  However, even with this simplified model, we find that the Eligible Bachelor Paradox can be explained by women bidders on men in a sealed bid first price asymmetric auction.

Reference: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/everyday_economics/2008/04/the_eligiblebachelor_paradox.single.html

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