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Smith and Rawls Share a Room


  • Bettina Klaus
  • Flip Klijn


We consider one-to-one matching (roommate) problems in which agents (students) can either be matched as pairs or remain single. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we review a key result for roommate problems (the "lonely wolf" theorem) for which we provide a concise and elementary proof. Second, and related to the title of this paper, we show 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bettina Klaus & Flip Klijn, 2007. "Smith and Rawls Share a Room," Working Papers 315, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:315

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Chung, Kim-Sau, 2000. "On the Existence of Stable Roommate Matchings," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 206-230, November.
    4. Roth,Alvin E. & Sotomayor,Marilda A. Oliveira, 1992. "Two-Sided Matching," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521437882, March.
    5. Bettina Klaus & Flip Klijn, 2006. "Median Stable Matching for College Admissions," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 34(1), pages 1-11, April.
    6. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Klaus, Bettina & Klijn, Flip & Walzl, Markus, 2010. "Stochastic stability for roommate markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(6), pages 2218-2240, November.
    2. Iñarra García, María Elena & Larrea Jaurrieta, María Concepción & Molis Bañales, Elena, 2007. "The Stability of the Roommate Problem Revisited," IKERLANAK 2007-30, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
    3. Bettina Klaus & Flip Klijn & Markus Walzl, 2011. "Farsighted Stability for Roommate Markets," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(6), pages 921-933, December.
    4. Pierre-André Chiappori & Alfred Galichon & Bernard Salanié, 2012. "The Roommate Problem is More Stable than You Think," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/3sd5loegec9, Sciences Po.

    More about this item


    roommate problem; stability; fairness;

    JEL classification:

    • C62 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Existence and Stability Conditions of Equilibrium
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory


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