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Love Conquers All—Even Poor Market Conditions: Marina Adshade at IdeaCity
Economics | July 05, 2013

Love Conquers All—Even Poor Market Conditions: Marina Adshade at IdeaCity

When it comes to women in the dating world, the phrase, "you're a seller in a buyer's market—lower your prices," is tossed around a lot. Marina Adshade, an economics speaker and the author of Dollars and Sex, disagrees with this sentiment. The market for sex and love is not one of supply and demand. In fact, it's more of a barter economy, she says in her talk at IdeaCity. Women aren't the sellers of sex, and men aren't the buyers. Rather, she says we're all buyers and sellers.It's not that single women have priced their goods too high, it's that economies that function on bartering (like the market for relationships) are "terribly inefficient."

This problem is the market for sex and love doesn't revolve around currency in the traditional sense. Finding the love of your life, Adshade suggests, requires the fulfillment of what economists call a "double concidence of wants." That is, you have to be selling what a potential partner is buying, and, you have to be buying what they are selling. Your wants and needs have to match up with that of another person—satisfying those expectations can be a frustrating and laborious process. That's why people will argue that, after a certain point, single people need to "lower their expectations" and "stop being so picky" if they hope to find a mate.

Adshade doesn't think that's necessarily the only scenario. In fact, the Internet and online dating "brings many buyers and sellers together" and actually causes them to "raise their expectations," not lower them, she says. "There's evidence coming out that access to the internet is actually responsible for the decline in divorce we've seen in the past decade," she adds. While this information is still in early stages, Adshade says these developments make a strong case for the importance of applying economic principles to sex and love-based questions. If we care about the longevity and success of our marriages and relationships, she argues, we need to understand how they are forming. Looking at partnerships from an economic standpoint can give us that insight. "Love triumphing over adversity, isn't that what all great love stories are about?" Adshade concludes in her talk. "To me, the economics of sex and love—that's just the greatest love story of all time."

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