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Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets

  • Alvin E. Roth

This essay examines how repugnance sometimes constrains what transactions and markets we see. When my colleagues and I have helped design markets and allocation procedures, we have often found that distaste for certain kinds of transactions is a real constraint, every bit as real as the constraints imposed by technology or by the requirements of incentives and efficiency. I'll first consider a range of examples, from slavery and indentured servitude (which once were not as repugnant as they now are) to lending money for interest (which used to be widely repugnant and is now not), and from bans on eating horse meat in California to bans on dwarf tossing in France. An example of special interest will be the widespread laws against the buying and selling of organs for transplantation. The historical record suggests that while repugnance can change over time, change can be quite slow.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12702.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
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Publication status: published as Alvin E. Roth, 2007. "Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 37-58, Summer.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12702
Note: HC LE
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  1. Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2004. "Prediction Markets," NBER Working Papers 10504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough Or Don'T Pay At All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810, August.
  3. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2009. "Strategy-proofness versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the New York City High School Match," NBER Working Papers 14864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sonmez & M. Utku Unver, 2003. "Kidney Exchange," NBER Working Papers 10002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez, 2006. "Changing the Boston School Choice Mechanism," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 639, Boston College Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Richard Schmalensee & Paul L. Joskow & A. Denny Ellerman & Juan Pablo Montero & Elizabeth M. Bailey, 1998. "An Interim Evaluation of Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Trading," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 53-68, Summer.
  8. M.Utku Unver, 2005. "Efficient Kidney Exchange: Coincidence of Wants in a Structured Market," Working Papers 263, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
  9. Kaushik Basu, 2003. "The Economics and Law of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 141-157, Summer.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Timur Kuran, 1995. "Islamic Economics and the Islamic Subeconomy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 155-173, Fall.
  15. Roth, Alvin E. & Malouf, Michael W. K. & Murnighan, J. Keith, 1981. "Sociological versus strategic factors in bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 153-177, June.
  16. 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.
  17. Joseph Persky, 2007. "Retrospectives: From Usury to Interest," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 227-236, Winter.
  18. Guillaume Frechette & Alvin E. Roth & M. Utku Ünver, 2004. "Unraveling Yields Inefficient Matchings: Evidence from Post- Season College Football Bowls," Microeconomics 0404001, EconWPA, revised 24 Sep 2004.
  19. repec:reg:rpubli:259 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Alvin E Roth & J K Murnighan, 1997. "The rule of information in bargaining: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1631, David K. Levine.
  24. 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.
  25. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sonmez & M. Utku Unver, 2004. "Pairwise Kidney Exchange," NBER Working Papers 10698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Leonard Thomas C., 2004. "The Price is Wrong: Causes and Consequences of Ethical Restraint of Trade," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 14(2), pages 1-20, December.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Kuran, T., 1995. "Islamic Economics and the Islamic Subeconomy," Papers 9505, Southern California - Department of Economics.
  32. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
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