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The Dynamics of Law Clerk Matching: An Experimental and Computational Investigation of Proposals for Reform of the Market

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  • Ernan Haruvy

    (University of Texas at Dallas)

  • Alvin E. Roth

    (Harvard University)

  • M. Utku Unver

    (Koc University)

Abstract

In September of 1998, the Judicial Conference of the United States abandoned as unsuccessful the attempt—the sixth since 1978—to regulate the dates at which law students are hired as clerks by Federal appellate judges. The market promptly resumed the unraveling of appointment dates that had been temporarily slowed by these efforts. In the academic year 1999-2000 many judges hired clerks in the fall of the second year of law school, almost two years before employment would begin, and before hardly any information about candidates other than first year grades was available. Hiring dates moved still earlier in the Fall of 2000 and 2001. The present paper explores proposed reforms of the market, experimentally in the laboratory, and computationally using genetic algorithms. Our results suggest that some of the special features of the judge/law-clerk market—in particular the feeling among many students and judges that students must accept offers when they are made--present obstacles to the success of the proposed reforms, including the latest reform proposed by the judges, in March 2002, which is a one year moratorium on clerkship hiring. Unlike many markets in which the inability to make binding contracts contributes to market failure, in the law clerk market it is the ease with which binding contracts are forged that harms efficiency.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Experimental with number 0404001.

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Date of creation: 02 Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0404001

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  1. 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.
  2. Nick Feltovich, 2000. "Reinforcement-Based vs. Belief-Based Learning Models in Experimental Asymmetric-Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 605-642, May.
  3. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2004. "Pairwise Kidney Exchange," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 620, Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. C. Nicholas McKinney & Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The Collapse of a Medical Labor Clearinghouse (and Why Such Failures Are Rare)," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 878-889, 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. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Bullard, James & Duffy, John, 1998. "A model of learning and emulation with artificial adaptive agents," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 179-207, February.
  9. Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "Can Pre-arranged Matches Be Avoided in Two-Sided Matching Markets?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 148-156, May.
  10. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
  11. Roth,Alvin E. & Sotomayor,Marilda A. Oliveira, 1992. "Two-Sided Matching," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521437882.
  12. Roth, Alvin & Niederle, Muriel, 2003. "Unraveling Reduces the Scope of an Entry Level Labor Market: Gastroenterology with and without a Centralized Match," Scholarly Articles 2623686, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. Roth, Alvin & Ünver, M. Utku & Sönmez, Tayfun, 2004. "Kidney Exchange," Scholarly Articles 2580565, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Li, Hao & Rosen, Sherwin, 1998. "Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 371-87, June.
  16. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1.
  17. 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.
  18. A. Roth & I. Er’ev, 2010. "Learning in Extensive Form Games: Experimental Data and Simple Dynamic Models in the Intermediate Run," Levine's Working Paper Archive 387, David K. Levine.
  19. 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.
  20. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
  21. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  26. Holland, John H & Miller, John H, 1991. "Artificial Adaptive Agents in Economic Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 365-71, May.
  27. Arifovic, Jasmina, 1996. "The Behavior of the Exchange Rate in the Genetic Algorithm and Experimental Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 510-41, June.
  28. John H. Miller, 1998. "Active Nonlinear Tests (ANTs) of Complex Simulation Models," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(6), pages 820-830, June.
  29. Duffy, John, 2001. "Learning to speculate: Experiments with artificial and real agents," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(3-4), pages 295-319, March.
  30. Yan Chen & Tayfun S�nmez, 2002. "Improving Efficiency of On-Campus Housing: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1669-1686, December.
  31. 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.
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