But first some links to related news stories:
The first one is Researchers at AAAS Annual Meeting Explore the Science of Kissing. The following quote gives you an idea of what it is all about: "Kissing, it turns out, unleashes chemicals that ease stress hormones in both sexes and encourage bonding in men, though not so much in women." I guess economists call this "interdependent utility functions." Meaning that what brings one person pleasure brings brings the other person pleasure, and vice-versa.
The other is Cocoa Prices Create Chocolate Dilemma. (that is from 2009) The article opens with "Soaring cocoa prices are creating a Valentine's Day dilemma for chocolate makers. They don't want to raise retail prices when recession-weary consumers are trying to limit their spending." The problem is crop diseases in Ivory Coast and Ghana. You might need to be a WSJ subscriber to read the whole article.
Here is a new article from yesterday's San Antonio Express-News (2-13-2011). Romance in bloom at workplace: Survey indicates 59% have taken the risk-filled leap. It seems like many people admit to having a romance at work and/or meeting their spouse at work. So what starts out as economic activity leads to some other needs being met.
Now the economic definition of romantic love.
Abstract: "Romantic love is characterized by a preoccupation with a deliberately restricted set of perceived characteristics in the love object which are viewed as means to some ideal ends. In the process of selecting the set of perceived characteristics and the process of determining the ideal ends, there is also a systematic failure to assess the accuracy of the perceived characteristics and the feasibility of achieving the ideal ends given the selected set of means and other pre-existing ends.The author was K. K. Fung of the Department of Economics, Memphis State University, Memphis. It was from a journal article in 1979. More info on it is at this link. The entire article, which is not too long, can be found at this link.
The study of romantic love can provide insight into the general process of introducing novelty into a system of interacting variables. Novelty, however, is functional only in an open system characterized by uncertainty where the variables have not all been functionally looped and system slacks are readily available to accommodate new things. In a closed system where all the objective functions and variables must be compatible to achieve stability and viability, adjustments in the value of some variables through romantic idealization may be dysfunctional if they represent merely residual responses to the creative combination of the variables in the open sub-system."
Then there was this related article: Love really is blind, U.S. study finds. Here is an exerpt:
"Love really is blind, at least when it comes to looking at others, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.More links:
College students who reported they were in love were less likely to take careful notice of other attractive men or women, the team at the University of California Los Angeles and dating Web site eHarmony found.
"Feeling love for your romantic partner appears to make everybody else less attractive, and the emotion appears to work in very specific ways in enabling you to push thoughts of that tempting other out of your mind," said Gian Gonzaga of eHarmony, whose study is published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.
"It's almost like love puts blinders on people," added Martie Haselton, an associate professor of psychology and communication studies at UCLA."
How to Be a Better Valentine, Through Economics by economist Paul Oyer.
Here’s what science says is the secret ingredient to making your love spark
Can Giving Up Money And Material Things Lead To More Love?
What Do Men In China Need To Get A Bride?
Adam Smith, Marriage Counselor
A Special Valentine's Message On Romantic Love
Can You Put A Price Tag On Love?
Do Opposites Attract? Not Usually, Except Maybe When It Comes To Money
Return of the Love Headhunters
eHarmony To Provide Personal Counselors To Help You Find Mr. Or Ms. Right
Economist Paul Zak, aka Dr. Love (he studies the brain with "neuroeconomics")
This is your brain on love (brain scans and biology seem to confirm the economic definition given above)
Dollars & Sex: The Blog of Economist Marina Adshade
Do Women Really Value Income over Looks in a Mate? by Marina Adshade