Thursday, March 02, 2006
Nice Guy Woes I -- Why do girls always end up with jerks?
Both authors were male and, as such, chose to focus on the challenges faced by nice guys. Thus, nice girls are, sorry gals, regrettably going to be ignored here. Some of their points are probably generalizable to nice girls, but I haven't thought through these issues completely.
Why do girls always end up with jerks?
Last year, Wei-Jen Yuan tried to answer this question in his term paper. Wei-Jen assumed that there are two type of guys -- players/jerks and nice guys. He further assumed that the dating market has two stages -- an acquisition stage and a commitment state. Jerks are assumed to have high cost of commitment, but low costs of acquisition. Nice guys the opposite. (One can argue that these differences stem from differences in preferences. Nice guys prefer to maximize the quality of their relationships and thus invest in the skills required to improve and maintain any relationship. Jerks seek to maximize the quantity of relationships and thus invest in the skills required to acquire women (see the book "The Game"). Alternatively, we could assume that these differences reflect differences in "natural" abilities.)
Next, girls stated preferences for nice guys are assumed to be correct, so that if they end up paired with a jerk they suffer a loss. Incurring the loss of being with a jerk leads girls to drop out of the market (at least for a few periods) and leads them to erect barriers which make it more difficult for any man to obtain them.
Assuming that there is asymmetric information about who the nice guys and jerks are, nice guys end up alone because the market unravels. In the initial period, jerks obtain more girls because it is easier for them to do so. This alone, suggests a reason for why disproportionate numbers of nice guys are alone. However, it gets worse. As relationships move into the commitment stage, jerks dump their girls and these girls drop out of the market. Now, the nice guy's expectation of obtaining a girl falls even further because their are fewer girls to go around. Even if these girls should re-enter the market, they now make themselves more difficult to obtain which only makes it more difficult for the nice guy to obtain one of the available girls.
As the process repeats, nice guys expectations of success in the initial stage get lower. At some point, the expected benefit of being on the market no longer justifies the cost of trying to get girls. This leads the nice guys to drop out of the market and hope that they will just "luck" into a relationship with out having to "apply for the job."
This model is not unassailable (e.g., why don't the nice guys realize the problem and go out and buy "The Game" and use its secrets to increase their probability of success in the initial stage?). However, it still provides a nice economic story for an "observed" (anecdotally) phenomenon.
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