The Strength of Absent Ties: Social Integration via Online Dating
42 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2017 Last revised: 23 Sep 2018
Date Written: September 14, 2018
We used to marry people to whom we were somehow connected. Since we were more connected to people similar to us, we were also likely to marry someone from our own race. However, online dating has changed this pattern; people who meet online tend to be complete strangers. We investigate the effects of those previously absent ties on the diversity of modern societies.
We find that social integration occurs rapidly when a society benefits from new connections. Our analysis of state-level data on interracial marriage and broadband adoption (proxy for online dating) suggests that this integration process is significant and ongoing.
Keywords: Social integration, interracial marriage, online dating, matching, social networks, random graphs
JEL Classification: J12, D85, C78
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