Picking and Choosing: The Simulation of Sequential Mate Selection Process

Chia-ying Chen, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Among marriage research, the“process”of how people find their partners in marriage market is still vague due to the difficulty of collecting empirical data. Most of mate selection research, therefore, is actually the hindsight of individuals' mate searching behavior. In order to overcome this difficulty, I suggest an idea of "sequential mate selection process" and propose five types of mate-selection principles--“choosing for the best only”principle,“well-rounded”principle,“differential preference”principle,"compensatory”principle and“immediate matching”principle--to theorize agent-based spouse searching behavior. Using computer simulation technique to test these principles, I find“compensatory” principle is the most advantageous mate-selection strategy due to its property of very high chance of successful matching and low searching cost. Moreover, I also find that“choosing for the best only”principle is not a wise way of choosing spouse because it exposes mate-seekers to risks of losing all chances of getting married.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Family, Households, Unions; Data, Methods, Study Design