One of the true kick-ass lectures that I have developed over the years is my introductory lecture on the economics of search. Basically it says nothing more than the common-sense notion that if you expect the extra benefits of additional search to outweigh the extra costs of additional search, you will decide to keep searching. We then go through numerous examples including search for sweaters, search for more references for a term paper, search for apartments, and search for a job. Then I show that the same theoretical model has applicability in the search for a roommate, search for a one-night stand, and even search for a marriage partner. We may be thinking (or behaving as if we're thinking) this:
Darling, the expected incremental costs of additional search for a marriage partner outweigh the expected incremental benefits of additional search for a marriage partner, so whaddya say?
But of course what we really say is, "Darling, I love you. Let's get married." I also caution the students that telling a prospective partner that you have actually, explicitly gone through the economic analysis might not be a good idea unless they, too, have studied the economics of search and/or have a good sense of humour.
Recently a former student who is now at Harvard wrote,
In first year econ you taught a class on the economics of [job/significant other] searching. I later made a reference to that class on facebook. It turns out that, since then, the costs of searching have been reassessed- much lower than I had thought. Anyway, I expanded on that idea, and wrote a paper. Some economists at the school liked the paper, and they gave me $500.