The Secret to Finding Love: A Field Experiment of Choice Structure in Online Dating Platform

36 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2020 Last revised: 28 Feb 2020

See all articles by Jaehwuen Jung

Jaehwuen Jung

Temple University - Fox School of Business and Management

Hyungsoo Lim

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST)

Dongwon Lee

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - HKUST Business School

Chul Kim

City University of New York - Allen G. Aaronson Department of Marketing & International Business

Date Written: January 10, 2020

Abstract

Online matching platforms require new approaches to market design since firms can now control many aspects of search and interaction process through various IT-enabled features. While choice structure — the size of choice set and the number of choices a platform offers to its customers — is one of the key design features of online matching platforms, its impact on engagement and matching outcomes remains unclear. In this study, we examine the effect of different choice structures on the number of choices and matches on the platform by conducting a randomized field experiment in collaboration with an online dating platform. Specifically, we design four treatment groups with different choice structures where users can only interact with other users in the same group, select users who are in a similar age range and live in the same geographical location, and randomly assign them to each treatment group. We find that providing higher choice capacities to male and female users have a different effect on choice behaviors and matching outcomes. Moreover, while increasing the choice capacity of male users yields the highest number of choices, increasing the choice capacity of female users is the most effective way to increase matching outcomes. Structural analysis further reveals the underlying mechanisms of choice behavior and matching results, suggesting that users significantly decrease the number of choices after receiving a choice from other users and the effect of the choice capacity on matching outcomes differs by gender. We further provide a counterfactual analysis that explores optimal choice structure design depending on the gender ratio of the online dating platform.

Keywords: matching platform design, choice structure, online dating, field experiment, structural modeling

Suggested Citation

Jung, Jaehwuen and Lim, Hyungsoo and Lee, Dongwon and Kim, Chul, The Secret to Finding Love: A Field Experiment of Choice Structure in Online Dating Platform (January 10, 2020). Baruch College Zicklin School of Business Research Paper No. 2020-01-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3517018 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3517018

Jaehwuen Jung (Contact Author)

Temple University - Fox School of Business and Management ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Hyungsoo Lim

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) ( email )

Clearwater Bay
Kowloon, 999999
Hong Kong

Dongwon Lee

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - HKUST Business School ( email )

Clearwater Bay
Kowloon, 999999
Hong Kong

Chul Kim

City University of New York - Allen G. Aaronson Department of Marketing & International Business

One Bernard Baruch Way, B12-240
New York, NY 10010-5585
United States

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