Depending on your own experience with dating apps, you might be surprised to learn that success in the online dating market is not distributed equally.
So, this Valentine’s Day, spare a thought for those struggling to find love among the insidious and “unjust” inequality on apps like Tinder or Bumble. But it exposes the limits of policymaking: there will always be areas of human life with natural imbalances which no government can perfectly fix.
Tinder is a simple app. Users swipe right on other users’ photos to signal their eagerness to date and hopefully receive a return “like” from their prospect. However, if there’s no chemistry then swiping left is the equivalent to faking a call from your mother to escape an admirer at the bar.
Based on one rough estimate by the anonymous economist who goes by the pseudonym ‘Worst-Online Dater,’ the Tinder economy is more unequal than 95.1% of the world’s countries based on the Gini coefficient – a standard measure of inequality.
Ok, so you’re not Brad Pitt, but you’re at least a “6” on the hotness scale. You should be fine, right? Not really. The top 20% most attractive men are competing for the top 78% of all women while a whopping 80% of men compete for the bottom 22% of women.
A potential reason for this inequality is that men are 6.2 times more likely to swipe right compared to females. In other words, men are less discriminating than women – who knew?
A man of average attractiveness is expected to be “liked” by a miniscule one in 115 women on Tinder, only a 0.87% success rate. If these sound like poor odds, they are.
Many keen male Tinder users have probably had a sneaking suspicion about this reality for many years. They’ll be somewhat relieved to know there is data confirming this and, ironically, that they’re not alone with their concerns. About 80% of guys are stuck on the same unsuccessful boat.
If this were any other part of the economy, men would be clamouring for some form of government assistance. A subsidised gym membership perhaps or maybe even plastic surgery for those most in need?
In fairness to online dating, many Gen-Xer’s and Millennials likely know at least one couple that met on Tinder and some of us might even know a Tinder baby.
This Valentine’s Day, if online dating isn’t your thing, you could always do it the old-fashioned way and go to a bar or party and try meet someone there, I guess.
Then again, one out of 115 is better than nothing right?