YOUR usually dedicated economics correspondent has recently been considering ditching the world of journalism to start a new app: “Economistr”. Like Tinder, but for economists. Your correspondent is very excited by this idea. The world of dating is rife with inefficiency—and we all know how economists hate inefficiency. Apps that reduce congestion in the dating market by filtering out princes-not-so-charming have huge value—just look at JSwipe, which matches Jewish couples, or glutenfreesingles.com, which…just guess.
But before I get as carried away as a game theorist with two newly caught prisoners, a quick reality check is in order. For a dating app to work, the market for singletons must be thick enough. It must establish a network large enough to benefit from “network externalities”, where all the single economists flock to where the other single economists are. Just think of Amazon and Ebay—buyers want to be where there are lots of sellers are, and vice versa.
To generate such a thick market, economists have to want to date other economists….Continue reading