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Public Health Dynamics Seminars

April 11, 2016: Modeling Mate Choice and the Structure of Dating Markets

Elizabeth Bruch, PhD

Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Michigan

Monday, April 11, 2016
12:00 – 1:00 PM
109 Parran Hall - Pitt Public Health


What strategies do people use to find mates, and how do those strategies collectively determine who pairs with whom — and who ends up alone? Social scientists argue that two factors shape marriage and dating patterns: men's and women's preferences for partners, and the size and composition of the pool of potential mates. Yet little is known about how mate seekers identify and attract partners, or how willing they are to compromise in the face of less attractive options. The language laypeople use to talk about mate search — "he's a hot commodity" or "she's out of your league" — implies scarcity, competition, and a hierarchy of desirability. But scholars have not directly examined how these factors affect the ability of men and women to achieve a desirable match, or what strategies people use to optimize the likelihood of success. Dr. Bruch will present initial results from a larger project that explores how people pursue mates, and the aggregate effects of those strategies for the structure of romantic markets.

About the speaker:

Elizabeth Bruch, PhDElizabeth Bruch is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan. Her work applies statistical techniques and insight from marketing and decision theory to the study of neighborhood and mate choice. She is currently working on three projects: 1) investigating how mate search strategies and mate choice behavior shape, and are shaped by, the size and demographic composition of the local dating or marriage market; 2) developing cognitively plausible choice models that allow for the identification of multistage decision rules; and 3) exploring how perceptual biases shape residential choice behavior and aggregate patterns of neighborhood change.








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