News article

Date: 19. January 2016

What's the Deal with Online Dating and Education?
What's the Real Factor?

When assessing a future partner, there are numerous factors that singles will consider to assure matching success. Appearance, social status, intelligence and chemistry are all staples. How about education, though? Research carried out by David Ong of Applied Economics carried out an online dating field experiment and came out with some very interesting results concerning the topic.

Finding a Partner: Education and Other Factors

Lots of people might think that having a similar level of education is important when it comes to partner selection. Similar experiences and cultural backgrounds would also help to ensure a stronger connection and make sure that the relationship remains a success. There is, however, a big problem here: education is often intricately linked with something that many people might consider to be attractive as well: income.

Online Dating Experiment Results

In the experiment, Ong set up 388 fake online dating profiles. 180 of the profiles were for imaginary women, 208 for men. These were placed on a Chinese online daing site. Women were given six different levels of education, however men simply got one that was randomly assinged to them. These educational levels were quite diverse, going from vocational to Master's degree. Visits to the profiles were from real people who had no idea.

Statistics showed that educational level for men visiting women wasn't so much of an issue. Women, on the other hand, tended to visit the profiles of men who had much higher education. The educational background of the woman didn't really matter. Even female users whose education was quite high were still aiming for men who had a much higher level of qualification and training. Education, in this instance, seemed to be nothing more than a byproduct for the real deal: the level of income.

Ong concluded, "Our evidence from randomly assigned levels of education and income, suggests that relationship public goods that stem from a common level of education are not at the forefront of either men's or women's minds in China. Furthermore, women's preferences for higher mate income may be an unacknowledged contributing factor in the educational homogamy found in prior studies."