BYU economics professor speaks on the ‘economics of dating’

BYU economics professor Joseph Price laughs as he has a discussion with students in the audience during a Chocolate Chat event. (Edith Aguilera)

BYU economics professor Joseph Price discussed “the economics of dating” on Feb. 11 in a Chocolate Chat hosted by the BYU Honors Program.

Following the event, chocolate refreshments were provided for students in attendance.

Price said his goal was to change the way students think about dating. He spoke about his own love story, mismatches in the marriage market and four principles of behavioral economics.

He shared the story of the time he met his wife, Emily. He had only known her for twelve days before they knew they wanted to get married. They’ve now been happily married for 21 years, with seven kids.

He then raised the question as to what made 12 days possible and not crazy. Many responded with answers about how reciprocation and putting thought into it with prayer was important.

He emphasized during the chat the shortage of college-aged men available and how people think there is a decline in marriageable men.

“It’s not just that he’s not into you, it’s just that there’s not enough of you,” Price said.

According to Price, the cause of the mismatch in the marriage market is a combination of hypergamy — where men tend to marry women that are younger, less educated and have lower income — the differences in gender population sizes at colleges and the decline in economic prospects for low-skilled workers.

Tayzlie Haack, an economics major at BYU said, “We should date to find friends, not date to find romance. Date to build our network of friends.”

Price recommended setting aside time and money for dating, reducing the expectations of what a date is, being mindful of social media usage and connecting with God before comparing with others.

“As a society we create these norms that can sometimes be more harmful than helpful,” Diana Gonzales, a student in attendance, said. “We need to be better about being aware of some of the norms that we’re creating and creating room for people to feel more comfortable going on dates without the pressure of making it romantic.”

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