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Relatively little such data exists for teenagers, who mostly work the old-fashioned meet-someone-in-homeroom way.But in examining the Add Health data, he and his colleagues found one classic economic tenet driving the byzantine high-school dating market: Scarcity determines value.(Humans tend to partner with mates that look and act like them.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
Being Smart About Dating in High School Getting to Know Your Crush Attracting Your Crush Community Q&A Are you interested in someone but they happen to be a senior?Rather sweetly, the Add Health study considers two a pair when they hold hands, kiss, and say "I love you." (It seems to me this knocks most high-school relationships out of consideration, but the criteria are the criteria.) And when does that happen?Boys and girls in the same grade account for about 42 percent of relationships, while older boys dating younger girls make up 40 percent of high-school relationships, and older girls dating younger boys make up 18 percent. These are truisms known to anyone who has watched 10 minutes of a teen movie or spent 10 minutes in a high school cafeteria.
So are some other old prom-era chestnuts: Teen boys are primarily—obsessively?
A tamer version of that observation is borne out in the economists' work among high schoolers.