Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How to tell if someone is poor or will sleep with you on the first date?

In this case I'm thinking of two very different situations. First, international development program often want to target funds to those most in need so they need some way to indentify who should receive aid. A program could just ask people their income, but then there would an incentive to lie in order to meet the criteria to receive funds. Instead programs like conditional cash transfers often use a proxy means test. In a proxy means test program staff visit a house and see if it has indoor plumbing, a cement floor, a TV, a car ect. to see if the family actually needs the money. It doesn't work perfectly to figure out who needs the money perhaps a family was once relatively well off and had plumbing and a cement floor, but was now starving. If done right proxy means testing is pretty close and harder to fake how well off you are.

So totally unrelated, except for the fact that this is also a discussion of related things. But OK Cupid (a dating website), uses their data to see what answers to questions correlate well with others. When asking a potential mate if they like beer, they find "No matter their gender or orientation, beer-lovers are 60% more likely to be okay with sleeping with someone they've just met"

This could be a valuable question, because no one would mind being asked if they liked beer, but asking about sleeping with someone on the first date probably sends a bad signal and you might not get a truthful answer. On the other hand if everyone discovers the signal, then people may lie about their preferences in order to avoid sending the wrong signal.

Read more from OK Cupid here.

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1 comment:

Millsy said...

Fun link at Cupid. However, the Religion vs. Writing Proficiency chart is depressing: Apparently there is no group in their sample with writing proficiency above the 9th grade level?

And apparently hardcore Protestants had to be pushed through the 7th grade...

I'm curious if this tells us something interesting about the sample of people looking for dates online, or if the reading/writing problem is just this severe in general.

(PS-Please make no assumptions about my writing proficiency based on my blog comment)