How Economists Pursue Assortative Mating at Valentine’s Megan McArdle asks how the physical university will survive the coming disintermediation of higher education.  I don’t think the answer is superior learning or even superior credentials.  It’s assortative mating.  Assortative mating works best when the cognitive elites are able to combine signaling behaviors for their superior genes, particularly for doing economics, with the physical proximity that supplies bonding behaviors and oxytocin and also the opportunity to sniff the pheromes.  We need classrooms for one kind of fitness signaling and dorms rooms for another.  There will be math involved.  Not because it’s necessarily needed, but because when economists compete for the opportunity to mate, math supplies the antlers. Vive the Red Queen.  The role of the tenured professor will survive as … Cupid.  (In honor of St Valentine’s Behavioral Economics, comments are open.)


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