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Online dating provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to observe both requited and unrequited overtures at the scale of entire populations.
As data from online dating websites have become available, a number of studies have explored the ways in which mate choice observed online can inform the debate about matching versus competition.
Historically, however, these hierarchies have been difficult to quantify.
Since they reflect which partners people pursue, and not just who people end up with, one would need a way to observe unrequited overtures and requited ones to determine who people find desirable.
Here, we calculate Page Rank scores for the populations within each of our four cities (see the “Network analysis” section) and then rank men and women separately from least to most desirable.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.To the extent that desirability correlates with individual attributes, the matching and competition hypotheses can, as a result, produce similar equilibrium patterns of mixing ().Romantic courtship is often described as taking place in a dating market where men and women compete for mates, but the detailed structure and dynamics of dating markets have historically been difficult to quantify for lack of suitable data.In recent years, however, the advent and vigorous growth of the online dating industry has provided a rich new source of information on mate pursuit.