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What Have We Learned from Market Design?

  • Alvin E. Roth

    (Alvin E. Roth is George Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration in the Department of Economics at Harvard University and the Harvard Business School.)

This essay discusses some things we have learned about markets in the process of designing marketplaces to fix market failures. To work well, marketplaces have to provide thickness, that is, they need to attract a large enough proportion of the potential participants in the market; they have to overcome the congestion that thickness can bring, by making it possible to consider enough alternative transactions to arrive at good ones; and they need to make it safe and sufficiently simple to participate in the market, as opposed to transacting outside of the market or having to engage in costly and risky strategic behavior. I will draw on recent examples of market design ranging from labor markets for doctors and new economists to kidney exchange and school choice in New York City and Boston.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization.

Volume (Year): 3 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 119-147

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:inntgg:v:3:y:2008:i:1:p:119-147
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  1. Peter Cramton, 1997. "The FCC Spectrum Auctions: An Early Assessment," Papers of Peter Cramton 97jemsfcc, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 12 Jul 1998.
  2. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
  3. Roth, Alvin E., 1982. "Incentive compatibility in a market with indivisible goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 127-132.
  4. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sonmez & M. Utku Unver, 2004. "Pairwise Kidney Exchange," NBER Working Papers 10698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Fréchette, Guillaume & Unver, M. Utku & Roth, Alvin, 2007. "Unraveling Yields Inefficient Matchings: Evidence from Post-Season College Football Bowls," Scholarly Articles 2570385, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Elliott Peranson & Alvin E. Roth, 1999. "The Redesign of the Matching Market for American Physicians: Some Engineering Aspects of Economic Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 748-780, September.
  7. Milgrom,Paul, 2004. "Putting Auction Theory to Work," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521551847, November.
  8. Alvin E. Roth, 2007. "Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 37-58, Summer.
  9. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E Roth, 2003. "Unraveling Reduces Mobility in a Labor Market: Gastroenterology with and without a Centralized Match," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000428, David K. Levine.
  10. McKinney, C. Nicholas & Niederle, Muriel & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The collapse of a medical labor clearinghouse (and why such failures are rare)," Scholarly Articles 2570404, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. 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.
  12. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sonmez & M. Utku Unver, 2003. "Kidney Exchange," NBER Working Papers 10002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Sönmez, Tayfun & Pathak, Parag A. & Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," Scholarly Articles 2562764, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Bruno Biais & Pierre Hillion & Chester Spatt, 1999. "Price Discovery and Learning during the Preopening Period in the Paris Bourse," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1218-1248, December.
  15. Jonathan Levin & Jeremy Bulow, 2004. "Matching and Price Competition," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 350, Econometric Society.
  16. 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.
  17. Kamecke, Ulrich, 1998. "Wage Formation in a Centralized Matching Market," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 33-53, February.
  18. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sonmez, 2008. "Leveling the Playing Field: Sincere and Sophisticated Players in the Boston Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1636-52, September.
  19. Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "House Allocation with Existing Tenants," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 233-260, October.
  20. Alvin E Roth, 2007. "Deferred Acceptance Algorithms: History, Theory, Practice, and Open Questions," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000283, UCLA Department of Economics.
  21. Alvin E. Roth, 2002. "The Economist as Engineer: Game Theory, Experimentation, and Computation as Tools for Design Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1341-1378, July.
  22. Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Pathak, Parag Abishek & Roth, Alvin E., 2009. "Strategy-Proofness Versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the NYC High School Match," Scholarly Articles 11077572, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  23. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Economics Papers 2004-W09, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  24. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Yeon-Koo Che & Yosuke Yasuda, 2010. "Expanding 'Choice' in School Choice," Working Papers 10-23, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  25. Roth,Alvin E. & Sotomayor,Marilda A. Oliveira, 1992. "Two-Sided Matching," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521437882, November.
  26. Dan Ariely & Axel Ockenfels & Alvin E. Roth, 2003. "An Experimental Analysis of Ending Rules in Internet Auctions," CESifo Working Paper Series 987, CESifo Group Munich.
  27. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1093-1103, September.
  28. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2007. "The Effects of a Centralized Clearinghouse on Job Placement, Wages, and Hiring Practices," NBER Working Papers 13529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Gary S. Becker & Julio Jorge Elías, 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.
  30. 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.
  31. David S. Evans & Andrei Hagiu & Richard Schmalensee, 2008. "Invisible Engines: How Software Platforms Drive Innovation and Transform Industries," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550687, March.
  32. 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.
  33. John Cawley, 2001. "A Guide (and Advice) for Economists on the U. S. Junior Academic Job Market," Labor and Demography 0109001, EconWPA, revised 27 Sep 2001.
  34. Paul Milgrom, . "Putting Auction Theory to Work: The Simultaneous Ascending Auction," Working Papers 98002, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  35. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sonmez, 2006. "Changing the Boston School Choice Mechanism," NBER Working Papers 11965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:645-667 is not listed on IDEAS
  37. Pathak, Parag A. & Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," Scholarly Articles 2562765, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  38. 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.
  39. Ergin, Haluk & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2006. "Games of school choice under the Boston mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 215-237, January.
  40. Roth, Alvin E, 1991. "Game Theory as a Part of Empirical Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(404), pages 107-14, January.
  41. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez, 2005. "A Kidney Exchange Clearinghouse in New England," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 376-380, May.
  42. Charles R. Plott, 1997. "Laboratory Experimental Testbeds: Application to the PCS Auction," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 605-638, 09.
  43. Crawford, Vincent P., 2005. "The Flexible-Salary Match: A Proposal to Increase the Salary Flexibility of the National Resident Matching Program," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt2gw114b2, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. Muriel Niederle, 2006. "Competitive Wages in a Match with Ordered Contracts," NBER Working Papers 12334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  47. Robert Wilson, 2002. "Architecture of Power Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1299-1340, July.
  48. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The Gastroenterology Fellowship Market: Should There Be a Match?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 372-375, May.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. Alvin E Roth & Muriel Niederle, 2007. "Making Markets Thick: Designing Rules for Offers and Acceptances," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000142, UCLA Department of Economics.
  52. Shapley, Lloyd & Scarf, Herbert, 1974. "On cores and indivisibility," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 23-37, March.
  53. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, March.
  54. Georgy Artemov, 2008. "Matching and price competition: would personalized prices help?," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 321-331, March.
  55. Kandel, Eugene & Rindi, Barbara & Bosetti, Luisella, 2012. "The effect of a closing call auction on market quality and trading strategies," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 23-49.
  56. Peter Cramton & Yoav Shoham & Richard Steinberg, 2004. "Combinatorial Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 04mit, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2004.
  57. Li, Hao & Rosen, Sherwin, 1998. "Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 371-87, June.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. Fuhito Kojima & Parag A. Pathak, 2009. "Incentives and Stability in Large Two-Sided Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 608-27, June.
  61. Sonmez, Tayfun, 1997. "Manipulation via Capacities in Two-Sided Matching Markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 197-204, November.
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