Propose with a Rose? Signaling in Internet Dating Markets
The large literature on costly signaling and the somewhat scant literature on preference signaling had varying success in showing the effectiveness of signals. We use a field experiment to show that even when everyone can send a signal, signals are free and the only costs are opportunity costs, sending a signal increases the chances of success. In an online dating experiment, participants can attach "virtual roses" to a proposal to signal special interest in another participant. We find that attaching a rose to an offer substantially increases the chance of acceptance. This effect is driven by an increase in the acceptance rate when the offer is made to a participant who is less desirable than the proposer. Furthermore, participants endowed with more roses have more of their offers accepted than their counterparts.
We thank Woongjin Lee for allowing us to conduct the field experiments, and Alvin Roth for detailed comments. Muriel Niederle gratefully acknowledges support from the NSF. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Soohyung Lee & Muriel Niederle, 2015. "Propose with a rose? Signaling in internet dating markets," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 731-755, December. citation courtesy of