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Market Culture: How Norms Governing Exploding Offers Affect Market Performance

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  • Muriel Niederle
  • Alvin E. Roth

Abstract

Many markets have organizations that influence or try to establish norms concerning when offers can be made, accepted and rejected. Examining a dozen previously studied markets suggests that markets in which transactions are made far in advance are markets in which it is acceptable for firms to make exploding offers, and unacceptable for workers to renege on commitments they make, however early. But this evidence is only suggestive, because the markets differ in many ways other than norms concerning offers. Laboratory experiments allow us to isolate the effects of exploding offers and binding acceptances. In a simple environment, in which uncertainty about applicants' quality is resolved over time, we find inefficient early contracting when firms can make exploding offers and applicants' acceptances are binding. Relaxing either of these two conditions causes matching to take place later, when more information about applicants' qualities is available, and consequently results in higher efficiency and fewer blocking pairs. This suggests that elements of market culture may play an important role in influencing market performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2004. "Market Culture: How Norms Governing Exploding Offers Affect Market Performance," NBER Working Papers 10256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10256
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Haruvy, Ernan & Roth, Alvin E. & Unver, M. Utku, 2006. "The dynamics of law clerk matching: An experimental and computational investigation of proposals for reform of the market," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 457-486, March.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Chen, Yan & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2006. "School choice: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 202-231, March.
    6. C. Nicholas McKinney & Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2003. "The collapse of a medical clearinghouse (and why such failures are rare)," NBER Working Papers 9467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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 415-440, June.
    11. Unver, M. Utku, 2001. "Backward unraveling over time: The evolution of strategic behavior in the entry level British medical labor markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(6-7), pages 1039-1080, June.
    12. Mongell, Susan & Roth, Alvin E, 1991. "Sorority Rush as a Two-Sided Matching Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 441-464, June.
    13. repec:hrv:faseco:35059714 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
    15. 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.
    16. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth & M. Utku Ünver, 2013. "Unraveling Results from Comparable Demand and Supply: An Experimental Investigation," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(2), pages 1-40, June.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. Li, Hao & Rosen, Sherwin, 1998. "Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 371-387, June.
    20. Wing Suen, 2000. "A Competitive Theory of Equilibrium and Disequilibrium Unravelling in Two-Sided Matching," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(1), pages 101-120, Spring.
    21. Hao Li & Wing Suen, 2000. "Risk Sharing, Sorting, and Early Contracting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 1058-1087, October.
    22. 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.
    23. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2005. "Efficient Kidney Exchange: Coincidence of Wants in a Structured Market," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 621, Boston College Department of Economics.
    2. Muriel Niederle, 2007. "Competitive Wages in a Match with Ordered Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1957-1969, December.
    3. Haruvy, Ernan & Roth, Alvin E. & Unver, M. Utku, 2006. "The dynamics of law clerk matching: An experimental and computational investigation of proposals for reform of the market," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 457-486, March.
    4. Konishi, Hideo & Sapozhnikov, Margarita, 2008. "Decentralized matching markets with endogenous salaries," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 193-218, September.
    5. International Monetary Fund, 2004. "The Internal Job Market of the IMF's Economist Program," IMF Working Papers 04/190, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Fainmesser, Itay P., 2013. "Social networks and unraveling in labor markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(1), pages 64-103.
    7. Armstrong, Mark & Zhou, Jidong, 2010. "Exploding offers and buy-now discounts," MPRA Paper 22531, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. 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.
    9. Halaburda, Hanna, 2010. "Unravelling in two-sided matching markets and similarity of preferences," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 365-393, July.
    10. C. Nicholas McKinney & Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2003. "The collapse of a medical clearinghouse (and why such failures are rare)," NBER Working Papers 9467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth & M. Utku Ünver, 2013. "Unraveling Results from Comparable Demand and Supply: An Experimental Investigation," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(2), pages 1-40, June.
    12. Muriel Niederle & Leeat Yariv, 2009. "Decentralized Matching with Aligned Preferences," NBER Working Papers 14840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. 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.
    14. Axel Anderson & Lones Smith, 2006. "Assortative Matching and Reputation," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1553, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.

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    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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