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Unraveling yields inefficient matchings: evidence from post-season college football bowls

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Listed:
  • Guillaume R. Fréchette
  • Alvin E. Roth
  • M. Utku Ünver

Abstract

Many markets have “unraveled” and experienced transactions at dispersed and apparently inefficiently early times. Often these markets develop institutions to coordinate and delay the timing of transactions. However it has proved difficult to gather data that allows the efficiency gains to be identified and measured. The present paper considers a market for which such data can be gathered. Prior to 1992, college football teams were matched for post-season play, in “bowl” games, up to several weeks before the end of the regular football season. Since 1992, the market has undergone a series of reorganizations that postpone this matching until the end of the regular season. We show that this has promoted more efficient matching of teams, as measured by the resulting television viewership. The chief driver has been the increased ability of later matching to produce “championship” games.
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Suggested Citation

  • Guillaume R. Fréchette & Alvin E. Roth & M. Utku Ünver, 2007. "Unraveling yields inefficient matchings: evidence from post-season college football bowls," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(4), pages 967-982, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:38:y:2007:i:4:p:967-982
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.0741-6261.2007.00121.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Unver, M. Utku, 2001. "Backward unraveling over time: The evolution of strategic behavior in the entry level British medical labor markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(6-7), pages 1039-1080, June.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Li, Hao & Rosen, Sherwin, 1998. "Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 371-387, June.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 201-235.
    12. 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.
    13. Hao Li & Wing Suen, 2004. "Self-Fulfilling Early-Contracting Rush," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(1), pages 301-324, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design

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