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Some things couples always wanted to know about stable matchings (but were afraid to ask)

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  • Bettina Klaus

    ()

  • Flip Klijn

Abstract

It is well-known that couples that look jointly for jobs in the same centralized labor market may cause instabilities. We demonstrate that for a natural preference domain for couples, namely the domain of responsive preferences, the existence of stable matchings can easily be established. However, a small deviation from responsiveness in one couple's preference relation that models the wish of a couple to be closer together may already cause instability. This demonstrates that the nonexistence of stable matchings in couples markets is not a singular theoretical irregularity. Our nonexistence result persists even when a weaker stability notion is used that excludes myopic blocking. Moreover, we show that even if preferences are responsive there are problems that do not arise for singles markets. Even though for couples markets with responsive preferences the set of stable matchings is nonempty, the lattice structure that this set has for singles markets does not carry over. Furthermore we demonstrate that the new algorithm adopted by the National Resident Matching Program to fill positions for physicians in the United States may cycle, while in fact a stable matchings does exist, and be prone to strategic manipulation if the members of a couple pretend to be single.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 552.02.

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Length: 28
Date of creation: 05 Dec 2002
Date of revision: 01 Oct 2005
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:552.02

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Keywords: matching; couples; stability;

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  1. Roth, Alvin E, 1984. "The Evolution of the Labor Market for Medical Interns and Residents: A Case Study in Game Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 991-1016, December.
  2. Alvin E. Roth, 2002. "The Economist as Engineer: Game Theory, Experimentation, and Computation as Tools for Design Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1341-1378, July.
  3. Alvin E. Roth & Elliott Peranson, 1999. "The Redesign of the Matching Market for American Physicians: Some Engineering Aspects of Economic Design," NBER Working Papers 6963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Roth, Alvin E & Vande Vate, John H, 1990. "Random Paths to Stability in Two-Sided Matching," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1475-80, November.
  5. Zhou Lin, 1994. "A New Bargaining Set of an N-Person Game and Endogenous Coalition Formation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 512-526, May.
  6. Klaus, Bettina & Klijn, Flip, 2005. "Stable matchings and preferences of couples," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 75-106, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Klaus, Bettina & Klijn, Flip, 2005. "Stable matchings and preferences of couples," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 75-106, March.
  2. Lars Ehlers & Jordi Massó, 2004. "Incomplete Information and Small Cores in Matching Markets," Working Papers 147, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Bettina Klaus & Flip Klijn, 2007. "Fair and efficient student placement with couples," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 177-207, October.
  4. Dogan, Onur & Laffond, Gilbert & Lainé, Jean, 2011. "The Core of Shapley-Scarf markets with couples," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 60-67, January.
  5. Péter Biró & Flip Klijn, 2013. "Matching With Couples: A Multidisciplinary Survey," International Game Theory Review (IGTR), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 15(02), pages 1340008-1-1.
  6. Bettina Klaus & Flip Klijn, 2004. "Paths to Stability for Matching Markets with Couples," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 604.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC), revised 01 Dec 2005.
  7. Alfredo Salgado-Torres, 2012. "A simple decentralized matching mechanism in markets with couples," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(3), pages 2044-2055.
  8. David Cantala, 2011. "Agreement toward stability in matching markets," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 293-316, December.
  9. Peter Biro & Tamas Fleiner & Rob Irving, 2013. "Matching Couples with Scarf's Algorithm," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1330, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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