Dating in junior high

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"That's a thing that girls let slide, because you have to," the student explains.

"If you don't let it slide, you don't have a boyfriend." Dating, in other words, is a market like any other, and market power is determined by the abundance of resources.

In real terms, that means couples with the same socioeconomic, racial, and religious background are common.

For 30-year-olds, that might mean predicating a relationship on willingness to marry or have kids.

For high schoolers, that might mean basing a relationship on, well, the Arcidiacono notes that there's a treasure trove of statistical data on the dating preferences, rather than pairings, of adults, due to dating sites like

What the researchers looked for is called, in academic-speak, "matching": the likelihood and factors that lead to any individual partnering up.

(They looked only at opposite-sex relationships within the same school.) That's uncommon: Most academic studies on marriage and partner-matching use a technique called "," which looks at pre-existing couples and defines the characteristics they do and do not have in common.

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