Economist: ‘Tis the Season to Break Up

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Ideas

If you find yourself unexpectedly single this week, then you are not alone. Evidence culled from Facebook status updates finds that the phrase “we broke up because …” is more popular in the two weeks before the Christmas holidays than any other time of the year. While there are many reasons relationships end, the timing of the breakup surge in the pre-Christmas season can be explained by wholly unromantic economic theories that illustrate how we behave when it is difficult to observe the intentions of others.

Imagine we have a couple that is looking forward to the Christmas season. Each person in the relationship knows how committed they are to the relationship but does not know if their lover is fully committed; only the individual has that information.

Relationships require an investment of time and energy, and so each would like to know with certainty if the relationship is going…

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