November 2019

IZA DP No. 12746: Job Prestige and Mobile Dating Success: A Field Experiment

Brecht Neyt, Stijn Baert, Jana Vynckier

Research exploiting data on classic (offline) couple formation has confirmed predictions from evolutionary psychology in a sense that males attach more value to attractiveness and women attach more value to earnings potential. We examine whether these human partner preferences survive in a context of fewer search and social frictions. We do this by means of a field experiment on the mobile dating app Tinder, which takes a central place in contemporary couple formation. Thirty-two fictitious Tinder profiles that randomly differ in job status and job prestige are evaluated by 4,800 other, real users. We find that both males and females do not use job status or job prestige as a determinant of whom to show initial interest in on Tinder. However, we do see evidence that, after this initial phase, males less frequently begin a conversation with females when those females are unemployed but also then do not care about the particular job prestige of employed females.