Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries.From the standpoint of anthropology and sociology, dating is linked with other institutions such as marriage and the family which have also been changing rapidly and which have been subject to many forces, including advances in technology and medicine.A fraction of a large user base is not to be sniffed at financially, but why aren’t more people willing to pay for dating apps? Paying to increase your probability of a date makes many people a bit uncomfortable: whether or not money can buy you love, most of us don’t want it to. Doesn’t paying for an app imply you can’t find a date for free?However, it was not long ago that online dating in general faced the same stigma, and this perception seems to have changed.As such, says Greenberg, “if an app were to make you somewhat more likely to find a romantic partner, you may not naturally value that app proportionally.”Greenberg supects that “duration biases” are at play.Humans are not very good at taking into account how long we will receive a benefit for when deciding the value of that benefit. “You may end up dating that person for years, or even be with that person for the rest of your life,” says Greenberg.The stigma rests on a kind of associational confusion, rather than a deep moral objection: paying to increase your chances of meeting someone is not at all the same as paying to date someone.
It’s hard to assess the effectiveness of paid sites or paid features without access to the apps’ own data.
“But we humans don’t necessarily take into account the duration of a benefit when we’re considering how valuable it is.” To the economist, this all implies a rather simple (if completely impractical) solution.