Information technologies supporting online dating create an enormous expansion of the population of potential partners. However, such a large population offers too much information, too many choices, too many potential (and potentially unsatisfying) partners. The importance of conducting a search efficiently is impera- tive. This paper applies the economic theory of decision-making under uncertainty to analyze the optimizing behavior of rational adults who use internet dating sites. The analysis applies expected utility to a randomly distributed population of candi- dates. The main result derives conditions that must be satisfied by a searcher who allocates his time efficiently. The result is based, in part, on an assumption that the behavior of the searcher is guided by his recognition of adverse selection and 'cheap talk.' The analytical results can be applied to search-and-action scenarios totally unrelated to a search for a romantic partner. These include such diverse scenarios as the deployment of military drones searching for a target or a search for a home or a search for an employment opportunity.
efficient allocation of time to search-and-action expected utility internet dating adverse selection and cheap talk