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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, i.e. 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'll 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. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2009. "Strategy-Proofness versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the NYC High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1954-78, December.
  2. 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.
  3. Roth, Alvin E., 1982. "Incentive compatibility in a market with indivisible goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 127-132.
  4. Jeremy Bulow & Jonathan Levin, 2005. "Matching and Price Competition," NBER Working Papers 11506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Roth, Alvin, 2008. "Deferred Acceptance Algorithms: History, Theory, Practice, and Open Questions," Scholarly Articles 2579651, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sonmez & M. Utku Unver, 2004. "Pairwise Kidney Exchange," NBER Working Papers 10698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Li, Hao & Rosen, Sherwin, 1998. "Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 371-87, June.
  8. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Economics Papers 2004-W09, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  9. David S. Evans & Andrei Hagiu & Richard Schmalensee, 2006. "Invisible Engines: How Software Platforms Drive Innovation and Transform Industries," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262050854, June.
  10. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521551847 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Roth, Alvin E, 1991. "Game Theory as a Part of Empirical Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(404), pages 107-14, January.
  12. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Yeon-Koo Che & Yosuke Yasuda, 2010. "Expanding “Choice” in School Choice," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000062, David K. Levine.
  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. Sonmez, Tayfun, 1997. "Manipulation via Capacities in Two-Sided Matching Markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 197-204, November.
  15. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sonmez & M. Utku Unver, 2003. "Kidney Exchange," Game Theory and Information 0308002, EconWPA.
  16. 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.
  17. Ulrich Kamecke, 1993. "Wage Formation in a Centralized Matching Market," Discussion Paper Serie A 422, University of Bonn, Germany.
  18. 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.
  19. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:645-667 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. M.Utku Unver, 2004. "Unraveling Yields Inefficient Matching: Evidence from Post-Season College Football Bowls," Working Papers 259, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2004.
  21. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Smez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," Discussion Papers 0203-18, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  22. Dan Ariely & Axel Ockenfels & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "An Experimental Analysis of Ending Rules in Internet Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 890-907, Winter.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 364-367, May.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. Georgy Artemov, 2008. "Matching and price competition: would personalized prices help?," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 321-331, March.
  30. Roth, Alvin E. & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1992. "Two-sided matching," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 485-541 Elsevier.
  31. Robert Wilson, 2002. "Architecture of Power Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1299-1340, July.
  32. Christopher Avery & Christine Jolls & Richard Posner & Alvin E. Roth, 2007. "The New Market for Federal Judicial Law Clerks," NBER Working Papers 13213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Milgrom, Paul, 1998. "Putting auction theory to work : the simultaneous ascending auction," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1986, The World Bank.
  34. 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, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 201-235, February.
  35. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, . "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-32, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  39. 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.
  40. Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "House Allocation with Existing Tenants," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 233-260, October.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. Plott, Charles R., 1996. "Laboratory Experimental Testbeds: Application to the PCS Auction," Working Papers 957, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. Alvin E Roth & Muriel Niederle, 2007. "Making Markets Thick: Designing Rules for Offers and Acceptances," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000142, UCLA Department of Economics.
  48. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun S�nmez, 2005. "A Kidney Exchange Clearinghouse in New England," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 376-380, May.
  49. Muriel Niederle, 2006. "Competitive Wages in a Match with Ordered Contracts," NBER Working Papers 12334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  50. Alvin E. Roth, 2006. "Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets," NBER Working Papers 12702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. Gary S. Becker & Julio Jorge El�as, 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. Shapley, Lloyd & Scarf, Herbert, 1974. "On cores and indivisibility," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 23-37, March.
  59. Haluk Ergin & Tayfun Sönmez, 2005. "Games of School Choice under the Boston Mechanism," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 619, Boston College Department of Economics.
  60. Peter Cramton & Yoav Shoham & Richard Steinberg, 2004. "Combinatorial Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 04mit, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2004.
  61. 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.
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