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Paths to Stability in the Assignment Problem

  • Bettina Klaus
  • Frédéric Payot

We study a labor market with finitely many heterogeneous workers and firms to illustrate the decentralized (myopic) blocking dynamics in two-sided one-to-one matching markets with continuous side payments (assignment problems, Shapley and Shubik, 1971). A labor market is unstable if there is at least one blocking pair, that is, a worker and a firm who would prefer to be matched to each other in order to obtain higher payoffs than the payoffs they obtain by being matched to their current partners. A blocking path is a sequence of outcomes (specifying matchings and payoffs) such that each outcome is obtained from the previous one by satisfying a blocking pair (i.e., by matching the two blocking agents and assigning new payoffs to them that are higher than the ones they received before). We are interested in the question if starting from any (unstable) outcome, there always exists a blocking path that will lead to a stable outcome. In contrast to discrete versions of the model (i.e., for marriage markets, one-to-one matching, or discretized assignment problems), the existence of blocking paths to stability cannot always be guaranteed. We identify a necessary and sufficient condition for an assignment problem (the existence of a stable outcome such that all matched agents receive positive payoffs) to guarantee the existence of paths to stability and show how to construct such a path whenever this is possible.

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Paper provided by Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP in its series Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) with number 13.14.

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Length: 35 pp.
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in The Journal of Dynamics and Games, 2015
Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:13.14
Contact details of provider: Postal: Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP, Internef, CH-1015 Lausanne
Phone: ++41 21 692.33.20
Web page: http://www.hec.unil.ch/deep/publications/cahiers/series
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  1. Jun Wako, 2006. "Another proof that assignment games have singleton cores only if multiple optimal matchings exist," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 213-217, September.
  2. Demange, Gabrielle & Gale, David, 1985. "The Strategy Structure of Two-sided Matching Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 873-88, July.
  3. Roth, Alvin E & Vande Vate, John H, 1990. "Random Paths to Stability in Two-Sided Matching," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1475-80, November.
  4. Bettina Klaus & Flip Klijn, 2004. "Paths to Stability for Matching Markets with Couples," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 604.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC), revised 01 Dec 2005.
  5. Demange, Gabrielle & Gale, David & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1986. "Multi-Item Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 863-72, August.
  6. John William Hatfield & Scott Duke Kominers & Alexandru Nichifor & Michael Ostrovsky & Alexander Westkamp, 2013. "Stability and Competitive Equilibrium in Trading Networks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(5), pages 966 - 1005.
  7. 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.
  8. Kelso, Alexander S, Jr & Crawford, Vincent P, 1982. "Job Matching, Coalition Formation, and Gross Substitutes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1483-1504, November.
  9. Sotomayor, Marilda, 2003. "Some further remark on the core structure of the assignment game," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 261-265, December.
  10. Ning Sun & Zaifu Yang, 2009. "A Double-Track Adjustment Process for Discrete Markets With Substitutes and Complements," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 933-952, 05.
  11. Peter Biro & Matthijs Bomhoff & Walter Kern & Petr A. Golovach & Daniel Paulusma, 2012. "Solutions for the Stable Roommates Problem with Payments," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1211, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  12. Bo Chen & Satoru Fujishige & Zaifu Yang, 2010. "Decentralized Market Processes to Stable Job Matchings with Competitive Salaries," KIER Working Papers 749, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
  13. Paul Milgrom, 2000. "Putting Auction Theory to Work: The Simultaneous Ascending Auction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 245-272, April.
  14. 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.
  15. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
  16. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Smez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," Discussion Papers 0203-18, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  17. Schwarz, Michael & Yenmez, M. Bumin, 2011. "Median stable matching for markets with wages," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 619-637, March.
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