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Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets

  • Alvin E. Roth

This essay examines how repugnance sometimes constrains what transactions and markets we see. When my colleagues and I have helped design markets and allocation procedures, we have often found that distaste for certain kinds of transactions is a real constraint, every bit as real as the constraints imposed by technology or by the requirements of incentives and efficiency. I'll first consider a range of examples, from slavery and indentured servitude (which are much more repugnant now than they once were) to lending money for interest (which used to be widely repugnant but no longer is), and from bans on eating horse meat in California to bans on dwarf tossing in France. An example of special interest will be the widespread laws against the buying and selling of organs for transplantation. The historical record suggests that while repugnance can change over time, it can persist for a very long time, although changes in institutions that reflect repugnance can occur relatively quickly when the underlying repugnance changes.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.21.3.37
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 37-58

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:3:p:37-58
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.3.37
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  1. Gary S. Becker & Julio Jorge El�as, 2007. "Introducing Incentives in the Market for Live and Cadaveric Organ Donations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 3-24, Summer.
  2. 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.
  3. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 364-367, May.
  4. Timur Kuran, 1995. "Islamic Economics and the Islamic Subeconomy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 155-173, Fall.
  5. Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2004. "Prediction Markets," Discussion Papers 03-025, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  6. 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.
  7. M.Utku Unver, 2004. "Unraveling Yields Inefficient Matching: Evidence from Post-Season College Football Bowls," Working Papers 259, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2004.
  8. 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.
  9. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2004. "Kidney Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 457-488, May.
  10. 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.
  11. Roth, Alvin E & Murnighan, J Keith, 1982. "The Role of Information in Bargaining: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1123-42, September.
  12. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2004. "Pairwise Kidney Exchange," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 620, Boston College Department of Economics.
  13. repec:reg:rpubli:259 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Leonard Thomas C., 2004. "The Price is Wrong: Causes and Consequences of Ethical Restraint of Trade," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 14(2), pages 1-20, December.
  15. Saidman, Susan L. & Roth, Alvin E. & Sonmez, Tayfun & Unver, M. Utku & Delmonico, Francis L., 2014. "Increasing the Opportunity of Live Kidney Donation by Matching for Two and Three Way Exchanges," MPRA Paper 58247, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Joseph Persky, 2007. "Retrospectives: From Usury to Interest," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 227-236, Winter.
  17. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez, 2006. "Changing the Boston School Choice Mechanism," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001022, UCLA Department of Economics.
  18. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2009. "Strategy-proofness versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the New York City High School Match," NBER Working Papers 14864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Basu, Kaushik, 2003. "The Economics and Law of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace," Working Papers 03-07, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  20. Roth, Alvin E. & Malouf, Michael W. K. & Murnighan, J. Keith, 1981. "Sociological versus strategic factors in bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 153-177, June.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Roth, Alvin & Ünver, M. Utku & Sönmez, Tayfun, 2005. "A Kidney Exchange Clearinghouse in New England," Scholarly Articles 2562810, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  25. Richard Schmalensee & Paul L. Joskow & A. Denny Ellerman & Juan Pablo Montero & Elizabeth M. Bailey, 1998. "An Interim Evaluation of Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Trading," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 53-68, Summer.
  26. Ünver, M. Utku & Sönmez, Tayfun & Roth, Alvin, 2007. "Efficient Kidney Exchange: Coincidence of Wants in a Markets with Compatibility-Based Preferences," Scholarly Articles 2562809, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  27. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
  28. Roth, Alvin E. & Sonmez, Tayfun & Unver, Utku & Delmonico, Francis & Saidman, Susan L., 2014. "Utilizing List Exchange and Non-directed Donation through “Chain” Paired Kidney Donations," MPRA Paper 58246, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  29. 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.
  30. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun S�nmez, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 368-371, May.
  31. Kuran, T., 1995. "Islamic Economics and the Islamic Subeconomy," Papers 9505, Southern California - Department of Economics.
  32. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough Or Don'T Pay At All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810, August.
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