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The collapse of a medical clearinghouse (and why such failures are rare)

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  • C. Nicholas McKinney
  • Muriel Niederle
  • Alvin E. Roth

Abstract

The collapse of the clearinghouse for the entry-level gastroenterology labor market offers a unique opportunity to study how stable clearinghouses succeed and fail. To explore the reasons for the failure of the clearinghouse (and why failures of this kind of clearinghouse have been so rare), we conduct an experimental investigation of demand shocks of the kind that occurred in the gastroenterology market. We find that a reduction in demand for positions leads to the collapse of the match only when it is detectable by firms before being detected by workers (as in the unexpected shock that took place in 1996, which could be seen by firms in their reduced applicant pools). Simple demand and supply imbalances do not seem to interfere with the operation of the centralized match. Our results suggest an affirmative answer to the question posed by market participants about whether the clearinghouse could be successfully restarted, and that this would relieve some of the distress now reported in that market, by allowing it to operate later, at a more uniform time, and with more national scope.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9467.

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Date of creation: Feb 2003
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Publication status: published as McKinney, C. Nicholas, Muriel Niederle and Alvin E. Roth. “The Collapse of a Medical Labor Clearinghouse (and Why Such Failures are Rare).” The American Economic Review 95, 3 (June 2005): 878-889.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9467

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  1. Alvin E Roth & Richard A Posner & Christine Jolls & Christopher Avery, 2007. "The New Market for Federal Judicial Law Clerks," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000288, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Li, Hao & Rosen, Sherwin, 1998. "Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 371-87, June.
  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, 1991. "A Natural Experiment in the Organization of Entry-Level Labor Markets: Regional Markets for New Physicians and Surgeons in the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 415-40, June.
  5. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2004. "Market Culture: How Norms Governing Exploding Offers Affect Market Performance," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000207, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Posner, Richard A. & Avery, Christopher & Jolls, Christine & Roth, Alvin, 2001. "The Market for Federal Judicial Law Clerks," Scholarly Articles 2623748, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Roth, Alvin E & Xing, Xiaolin, 1994. "Jumping the Gun: Imperfections and Institutions Related to the Timing of Market Transactions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 992-1044, September.
  8. Roth, Alvin E & Xing, Xiaolin, 1997. "Turnaround Time and Bottlenecks in Market Clearing: Decentralized Matching in the Market for Clinical Psychologists," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 284-329, April.
  9. Haruvy, Ernan & Roth, Alvin E. & Unver, M. Utku, 2006. "The dynamics of law clerk matching: An experimental and computational investigation of proposals for reform of the market," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 457-486, March.
  10. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2003. "Unraveling Reduces Mobility in a Labor Market: Gastroenterology with and without a Centralized Match," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1342-1352, December.
  11. Hao Li & Wing Suen, 2000. "Risk Sharing, Sorting, and Early Contracting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 1058-1087, October.
  12. Wing Suen, 2000. "A Competitive Theory of Equilibrium and Disequilibrium Unravelling in Two-Sided Matching," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(1), pages 101-120, Spring.
  13. 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.
  14. Avery, Christopher & Fairbanks, Andrew & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2001. "What Worms for the Early Bird: Early Admissions at Elite Colleges," Working Paper Series rwp01-049, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  15. Mongell, Susan & Roth, Alvin E, 1991. "Sorority Rush as a Two-Sided Matching Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 441-64, June.
  16. John H. Kagel & Alvin E. Roth, 2000. "The Dynamics Of Reorganization In Matching Markets: A Laboratory Experiment Motivated By A Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 201-235, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Alvin E Roth & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2005. "Efficient Kidney Exchange: Coincidence of Wants in a Structured Market," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000126, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Ernan Haruvy & M. Utku Ünver, 2003. "Equilibrium Selection in Repeated Business-to-Business Matching Markets," Experimental 0305004, EconWPA, revised 02 Sep 2003.
  3. Hanna W. Halaburda, 2008. "Unravelling in Two-Sided Matching Markets and Similarity of Preferences," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-068, Harvard Business School.
  4. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2004. "Market Culture: How Norms Governing Exploding Offers Affect Market Performance," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000207, UCLA Department of Economics.

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