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What Have We Learned from Market Design?

In: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 9

  • Alvin E. Roth

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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This chapter was published in:
  • Josh Lerner & Scott Stern, 2009. "Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 9," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lern08-1, May.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 8185.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:8185
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. 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.
    2. Robert Wilson, 2002. "Architecture of Power Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1299-1340, July.
    3. Pathak, Parag A. & Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," Scholarly Articles 2562765, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    4. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2004. "Pairwise Kidney Exchange," Game Theory and Information 0408001, EconWPA, revised 16 Feb 2005.
    5. Bulow, Jeremy I. & Levin, Jonathan, 2003. "Matching and Price Competition," Research Papers 1818, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    6. 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.
    7. Ulrich Kamecke, 1993. "Wage Formation in a Centralized Matching Market," Discussion Paper Serie A 422, University of Bonn, Germany.
    8. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2004. "Kidney Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 457-488, May.
    9. 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.
    10. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez, 2006. "Changing the Boston School Choice Mechanism," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001022, UCLA Department of Economics.
    11. 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.
    12. Muriel Niederle, 2007. "Competitive Wages in a Match with Ordered Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1957-1969, December.
    13. Roth, Alvin & Ockenfels, Axel & Ariely, Dan, 2005. "An Experimental Analysis of Ending Rules in Internet Auctions," Scholarly Articles 2579649, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    14. Roth, Alvin, 2007. "Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets," Scholarly Articles 2624677, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    15. Alvin E Roth & Muriel Niederle, 2007. "Making Markets Thick: Designing Rules for Offers and Acceptances," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000142, UCLA Department of Economics.
    16. Sonmez, Tayfun, 1997. "Manipulation via Capacities in Two-Sided Matching Markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 197-204, November.
    17. Roth, Alvin E., 1982. "Incentive compatibility in a market with indivisible goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 127-132.
    18. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
    19. 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.
    20. Peter Cramton & Yoav Shoham & Richard Steinberg, 2004. "Combinatorial Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 04mit, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2004.
    21. Alvin Roth, 2008. "Deferred acceptance algorithms: history, theory, practice, and open questions," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 537-569, March.
    22. 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.
    23. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun S�nmez, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 368-371, May.
    24. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Yeon-Koo Che & Yosuke Yasuda, 2008. "Expanding "Choice" in School Choice," Discussion Papers 0809-09, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
    25. 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.
    26. 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.
    27. 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.
    28. 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, June.
    29. Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "House Allocation with Existing Tenants," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 233-260, October.
    30. Milgrom, Paul, 1998. "Putting auction theory to work : the simultaneous ascending auction," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1986, The World Bank.
    31. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:645-667 is not listed on IDEAS
    32. 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.
    33. 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.
    34. 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.
    35. 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.
    36. 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.
    37. 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.
    38. 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.
    39. 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.
    40. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number auction1, December.
    41. 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.
    42. 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.
    43. Peter Cramton, 1997. "The FCC Spectrum Auctions: An Early Assessment," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 431-495, 09.
    44. Li, Hao & Rosen, Sherwin, 1998. "Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 371-87, June.
    45. 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.
    46. 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.
    47. 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.
    48. Tayfun Sönmez & Alvin E. Roth & M. Utku Ünver, 2007. "Efficient Kidney Exchange: Coincidence of Wants in Markets with Compatibility-Based Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 828-851, June.
    49. Shapley, Lloyd & Scarf, Herbert, 1974. "On cores and indivisibility," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 23-37, March.
    50. Roth, Alvin E, 1991. "Game Theory as a Part of Empirical Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(404), pages 107-14, January.
    51. 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.
    52. 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.
    53. 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.
    54. 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.
    55. 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.
    56. Georgy Artemov, 2008. "Matching and price competition: would personalized prices help?," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 321-331, March.
    57. 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.
    58. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521551847 is not listed on IDEAS
    59. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
    60. 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.
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