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A Competitive Theory of Equilibrium and Disequilibrium Unravelling in Two-Sided Matching

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  • Wing Suen

Abstract

I offer a competitive explanation for the rush toward early contracting in matching markets. The explanation does not rely on market power, strategic motives, or instability of the assignment mechanism. Uncertainty about workers' ability will produce inefficient matching if contracts are formed early. However, the insurance gain from early contracting may outweigh the loss from inefficient matching. If firms are risk neutral, it is the mediocre firms that will have the greatest incentive to offer early contracts. Opening up a market for early contracting will generally benefit the firms and hurt the workers. If firms are sufficiently risk averse, even the lowest-quality firms may want to offer early contracts, and a competitive equilibrium may not exist.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:31:y:2000:i:spring:p:101-120
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2009. "The Effects of a Centralized Clearinghouse on Job Placement, Wages, and Hiring Practices," NBER Chapters,in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 235-271 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. 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.
    4. Bos, Olivier & Ranger, Martin, 2016. "Risk and Unraveling in Labor Markets," MPRA Paper 74785, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2004. "Market Culture: How Norms Governing Exploding Offers Affect Market Performance," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000018, UCLA Department of Economics.
    6. C. Nicholas McKinney & Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2003. "The collapse of a medical clearinghouse (and why such failures are rare)," NBER Working Papers 9467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2001. "Unraveling Reduces the Scope of an Entry Level Labor Market: Gastroenterology With and Without a Centralized Match," NBER Working Papers 8616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Josephson, Jens & Shapiro, Joel, 2008. "Interviews and Adverse Selection," CEPR Discussion Papers 6837, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Y. Stephen Chiu & Weiwei Weng, 2009. "Endogenous preferential treatment in centralized admissions," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 258-282.
    10. Michael Ostrovsky & Michael Schwarz, 2010. "Information Disclosure and Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 34-63, May.
    11. 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.
    12. Wenjie Tang & J. Neil Bearden & Ilia Tsetlin, 2009. "Ultimatum Deadlines," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(8), pages 1423-1437, August.
    13. Wing Suen, 2007. "The comparative statics of differential rents in two-sided matching markets," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 5(2), pages 149-158, August.
    14. Ettore Damiano & Hao Li & Wing Suen, 2005. "Unravelling of Dynamic Sorting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 1057-1076.
    15. Sandro Ambuehl & Vivienne Groves, 2017. "Unraveling Over Time," CESifo Working Paper Series 6739, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. 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.
    17. Mustafa Afacan, 2013. "The welfare effects of pre-arrangements in matching markets," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 53(1), pages 139-151, May.

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