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Deferred Acceptance Algorithms: History, Theory, Practice, and Open Questions

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  • Alvin E. Roth

The deferred acceptance algorithm proposed by Gale and Shapley (1962) has had a profound influence on market design, both directly, by being adapted into practical matching mechanisms, and, indirectly, by raising new theoretical questions. Deferred acceptance algorithms are at the basis of a number of labor market clearinghouses around the world, and have recently been implemented in school choice systems in Boston and New York City. In addition, the study of markets that have failed in ways that can be fixed with centralized mechanisms has led to a deeper understanding of some of the tasks a marketplace needs to accomplish to perform well. In particular, marketplaces work well when they provide thickness to the market, help it deal with the congestion that thickness can bring, and make it safe for participants to act effectively on their preferences. Centralized clearinghouses organized around the deferred acceptance algorithm can have these properties, and this has sometimes allowed failed markets to be reorganized.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13225.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13225
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  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. Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "House Allocation with Existing Tenants," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 233-260, October.
  11. 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 1954-1978, December.
  12. Ünver, M. Utku & Sönmez, Tayfun & Roth, Alvin, 2007. "Efficient Kidney Exchange: Coincidence of Wants in a Markets with Compatibility-Based Preferences," Scholarly Articles 2562809, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Klaus Bettina & Klijn Flip & Nakamura Toshifumi, 2007. "Corrigendum: Stable Matchings and Preferences of Couples," Research Memorandum 025, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
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  19. Aytek Erdil & Haluk Ergin, 2007. "What`s the Matter with Tie-breaking? Improving Efficiency in School Choice," Economics Series Working Papers 349, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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  27. Roth, Alvin E. & Niederle, Muriel, 2003. "Unraveling reduces mobility in a labor market: Gastroenterology with and without a centralized match," Scholarly Articles 29408444, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  28. Li, Hao & Rosen, Sherwin, 1998. "Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 371-387, June.
  29. Hao Li & Wing Suen, 2004. "Self-Fulfilling Early-Contracting Rush," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(1), pages 301-324, 02.
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  32. Crawford, Vincent P & Knoer, Elsie Marie, 1981. "Job Matching with Heterogeneous Firms and Workers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(2), pages 437-450, March.
  33. Roth, Alvin E. & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1988. "Interior points in the core of two-sided matching markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 85-101, June.
  34. Chung, Kim-Sau, 2000. "On the Existence of Stable Roommate Matchings," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 206-230, November.
  35. Roth, Alvin E., 1982. "Incentive compatibility in a market with indivisible goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 127-132.
  36. Kamecke, Ulrich, 1998. "Wage Formation in a Centralized Matching Market," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 33-53, February.
  37. Klaus, Bettina & Klijn, Flip, 2005. "Stable matchings and preferences of couples," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 75-106, March.
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  41. Kesten, Onur, 2006. "On two competing mechanisms for priority-based allocation problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 155-171, March.
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  44. Szilvia Papai, 2000. "Strategyproof Assignment by Hierarchical Exchange," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1403-1434, November.
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  46. Pathak, Parag A. & Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," Scholarly Articles 2562765, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  47. Roth, Alvin & Ünver, M. Utku & Sönmez, Tayfun, 2004. "Kidney Exchange," Scholarly Articles 2580565, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  48. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 368-371, May.
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  50. 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.
  51. 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.
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  53. Balinski, Michel & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "A Tale of Two Mechanisms: Student Placement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-94, January.
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  55. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sonmez, 1998. "Random Serial Dictatorship and the Core from Random Endowments in House Allocation Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 689-702, May.
  56. Roth, Alvin E & Vande Vate, John H, 1990. "Random Paths to Stability in Two-Sided Matching," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1475-1480, November.
  57. Muriel Niederle, 2006. "Competitive Wages in a Match with Ordered Contracts," NBER Working Papers 12334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  58. 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.
  59. Sotomayor, Marilda, 2007. "Connecting the cooperative and competitive structures of the multiple-partners assignment game," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 155-174, May.
  60. Alkan, Ahmet, 1988. "Nonexistence of stable threesome matchings," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 207-209, October.
  61. 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.
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  65. 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.
  66. Sotomayor, Marilda, 1996. "A Non-constructive Elementary Proof of the Existence of Stable Marriages," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 135-137, March.
  67. Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "Can Pre-arranged Matches Be Avoided in Two-Sided Matching Markets?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 148-156, May.
  68. Michael Ostrovsky, 2008. "Stability in Supply Chain Networks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 897-923, June.
  69. Roth, Alvin E & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1989. "The College Admissions Problem Revisited," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 559-570, May.
  70. Martinez, Ruth & Masso, Jordi & Neme, Alejandro & Oviedo, Jorge, 2004. "An algorithm to compute the full set of many-to-many stable matchings," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 187-210, March.
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