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Smith and Rawls share a room: stability and medians

  • Bettina Klaus


  • Flip Klijn


We consider one-to-one, one-sided matching (roommate) problems in which agents can either be matched as pairs or remain single. We introduce a so-called bi-choice graph for each pair of stable matchings and characterize its structure. Exploiting this structure we obtain as a corollary the "lone wolf" theorem and a decomposability result. The latter result together with transitivity of blocking leads to an elementary proof of the so-called stable median matching theorem, showing how the often incompatible concepts of stability (represented by the political economist Adam Smith) and fairness (represented by the political philosopher John Rawls) can be reconciled for roommate problems. Finally, we extend our results to two-sided matching problems.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Choice and Welfare.

Volume (Year): 35 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 647-667

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Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:35:y:2010:i:4:p:647-667
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  1. Martinez, Ruth & Masso, Jordi & Neme, Alejandro & Oviedo, Jorge, 2000. "Single Agents and the Set of Many-to-One Stable Matchings," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 91-105, March.
  2. Bettina Klaus & Flip Klijn, 2004. "Median Stable Matching for College Admission," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 632.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC), revised 16 Feb 2006.
  3. Roth, Alvin E & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1989. "The College Admissions Problem Revisited," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 559-70, May.
  4. Jackson, Matthew O., 1998. "The Evolution of Social and Economic Networks," Working Papers 1044, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. Roth, Alvin E., 1985. "The college admissions problem is not equivalent to the marriage problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 277-288, August.
  6. Michael Schwarz & M. Bumin Yenmez, 2009. "Median Stable Matching," NBER Working Papers 14689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Chung, Kim-Sau, 2000. "On the Existence of Stable Roommate Matchings," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 206-230, November.
  9. Diamantoudi, Effrosyni & Miyagawa, Eiichi & Xue, Licun, 2004. "Random paths to stability in the roommate problem," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 18-28, July.
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