By analyzing data originally stolen and released by Internet hackers, investigators have examined the characteristics of individuals who paid to engage in extramarital affairs using the online infidelity matchmaking site Ashley Madison.
The researchers found that income is the leading market determinant for Internet-facilitated infidelity, indicating the service behaves as a luxury good. "Several characteristics related to infidelity at the individual-level were also significant," said Michael Chohaney, co-author of the Geographical Review analysis. "For example, religiosity negatively correlated with Ashley Madison subscription and spending rates, decreasing about 18 percent and 13 percent for every additional religious congregation per 1000 people," added co-author Kimberly Panozzo. Political leanings did not seem to have an effect.