IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Harmful signaling in matching markets


  • Kushnir, Alexey


Several labor markets, including the job market for new Ph.D. economists, have recently developed formal signaling mechanisms. We show that such mechanisms are harmful for some environments. While signals transmit previously unavailable information, they also facilitate information asymmetry that leads to coordination failures. In particular, we consider a two-sided matching game of incomplete information between firms and workers. Each worker has either the same “typical” known preferences with probability close to one or “atypical” idiosyncratic preferences with the complementary probability close to zero. Firms have known preferences over workers. We show that under some technical condition if at least three firms are responsive to some workerʼs signal, the introduction of signaling strictly decreases the expected number of matches.

Suggested Citation

  • Kushnir, Alexey, 2013. "Harmful signaling in matching markets," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 209-218.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:80:y:2013:i:c:p:209-218
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2013.04.002

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Farrell, Joseph & Gibbons, Robert, 1989. "Cheap talk can matter in bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 221-237, June.
    2. Alvin E. Roth, 2009. "What Have We Learned from Market Design?," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 79-112.
    3. Peter Coles & John Cawley & Phillip B. Levine & Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth & John J. Siegfried, 2010. "The Job Market for New Economists: A Market Design Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 187-206, Fall.
    4. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, January.
    5. Atila Abdulkadiro?lu & Yeon-Koo Che & Yosuke Yasuda, 2015. "Expanding "Choice" in School Choice," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 1-42, February.
    6. d’ASPREMONT, C. & PELEG, B., 1986. "Ordinal Bayesian incentive compatible representations of committees," CORE Discussion Papers 1986042, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    7. Peter Coles & Alexey Kushnir & Muriel Niederle, 2013. "Preference Signaling in Matching Markets," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 99-134, May.
    8. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
    9. Christopher Avery & Jonathan Levin, 2010. "Early Admissions at Selective Colleges," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2125-2156, December.
    10. Banks, Jeffrey S & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 647-661, May.
    11. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Peter Coles & Alexey Kushnir & Muriel Niederle, 2013. "Preference Signaling in Matching Markets," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 99-134, May.
    2. Soohyung Lee & Muriel Niederle, 2015. "Propose with a rose? Signaling in internet dating markets," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(4), pages 731-755, December.

    More about this item


    Signaling; Cheap talk; Matching;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:80:y:2013:i:c:p:209-218. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.