Paradoxically, this can also produce couples who resemble one another in terms of desirability, as the most desirable partners pair off with one another, followed by the next most desirable, and so on.
If there is consensus about who is desirable, then it creates a hierarchy of desirability () such that individuals can, at least in principle, be ranked from least to most desirable, and their ranking will predict how and to what extent they are pursued by others.
We present an empirical analysis of heterosexual dating markets in four large U. cities using data from a popular, free online dating service.
We show that competition for mates creates a pronounced hierarchy of desirability that correlates strongly with user demographics and is remarkably consistent across cities.
We also explore the ways in which people tailor their messaging strategies and message content based on the desirability of potential partners, and how desirability and dating strategy vary across demographic groups.
To study individual desirability, we focus on messages between users of the website in four cities: New York, Boston, Chicago, and Seattle.