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Egebark, J., Ekström, M., Plug, E. and van Praag, M. (2021). Brains or beauty? Causal evidence on the returns to education and attractiveness in the online dating market Journal of Public Economics, 196:.


  • Affiliated author
  • Publication year
    2021
  • Journal
    Journal of Public Economics

We study partner preferences for education and attractiveness by conducting a field experiment in a large online dating market. Fictitious profiles with manipulated levels of education and photo attractiveness send random invitations for a serious relationship to real online daters. We find that men and women prefer attractive over unattractive profiles, regardless of own attractiveness. We also find that high-educated men prefer low-educated over high-educated profiles as much as high-educated women prefer high-educated over low-educated profiles. With preferences similar for attractiveness but opposite for education, two groups are more likely to stay single: unattractive, low-educated men and unattractive, high-educated women.