Wim Vijverberg

Therefore, it will be a suboptimal use of my time to keep this relationship going. I think we can all agree that different nights of the week have different values. Stereotypically, our weekend nights i. How about we meet for coffee on Monday? But how about we meet for lunch on Tuesday instead?

We choose to spend those high-opportunity-cost nights with people we really want to be with, while Mondays and Tuesdays are low-opportunity-cost days reserved for those ranked lower on our preference list.

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The signal is clear! In my last Learn Liberty article , I mentioned that one of the most important concepts I teach in my principles of economics classes is sunk cost. Eventually, the marginal benefit becomes less the than marginal cost. Apparently, some readers misunderstood my point, so let me be clear — I am not advocating perpetual singleness, nor am I saying that all relationships are bad and that if you are in one, you should break up.

A clear reading of what I actually wrote should clarify this mistaken conclusion. The point is that many people are in relationships that they know are wrong, or relationships that are unhealthy, but they do not break up because they feel that the time that they have invested in the relationship will have been a waste. Therefore, these individuals stay in the relationship and try to force it to work or even marry the person in order to justify the investment of time.

This is bad economic decision-making based on the sunk-cost fallacy. I have had many students thank me for teaching them this concept and tell me how it made them keenly reevaluate their situation to the degree that they actually did decide to break up with their boyfriend or girlfriend. He also taught Economics and Advanced Placement… read more. How people really decide whether to date you: The cost-benefit analysis of love.

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