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Unraveling Results from Comparable Demand and Supply: An Experimental Investigation

  • Muriel Niederle
  • Alvin E. Roth
  • M. Utku Ünver

Markets sometimes unravel, with offers becoming inefficiently early. Often this is attributed to competition arising from an imbalance of demand and supply, typically excess demand for workers. However this presents a puzzle, since unraveling can only occur when firms are willing to make early offers and workers are willing to accept them. We present a model and experiment in which workers' quality becomes known only in the late part of the market. However, in equilibrium, matching can occur (inefficiently) early only when there is comparable demand and supply: a surplus of applicants, but a shortage of high quality applicants.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15006.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Publication status: published as 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 243-282, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15006
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  1. Pais, Joana & Pintér, Ágnes, 2008. "School choice and information: An experimental study on matching mechanisms," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 303-328, September.
  2. 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.
  3. Ettore Damiano & Hao Li & Wing Suen, 2005. "Unravelling of Dynamic Sorting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 1057-1076.
  4. Itay Fainmesser, 2010. "Social Networks and Unraveling in Labor Markets," Working Papers 2010-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. McKinney, C. Nicholas & Niederle, Muriel & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The collapse of a medical labor clearinghouse (and why such failures are rare)," Scholarly Articles 2570404, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Maitreesh Ghatak & Jeanne Lafortune, 2013. "Marry for What? Caste and Mate Selection in Modern India," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 33-72, May.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2009. "Market Culture: How Rules Governing Exploding Offers Affect Market Performance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 199-219, August.
  10. Ettore Damiano & Hao Li, 2004. "Unraveling of Dynamic Sorting," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 72, Econometric Society.
  11. M. Utku Ünver, 2005. "On the survival of some unstable two-sided matching mechanisms," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 239-254, 06.
  12. Chen, Yan & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2006. "School choice: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 202-231, March.
  13. 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.
  14. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, . "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-32, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  15. 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.
  16. Gunter J. Hitsch & Ali Horta�su & Dan Ariely, 2010. "Matching and Sorting in Online Dating," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 130-63, March.
  17. Hanna W. Halaburda, 2008. "Unravelling in Two-Sided Matching Markets and Similarity of Preferences," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-068, Harvard Business School.
  18. Axel Ockenfels & Alvin E. Roth, 2003. "Late and Multiple Bidding in Second Price Internet Auctions: Theory and Evidence Concerning Different Rules for Ending an Auction," CESifo Working Paper Series 992, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2001. "Unraveling Reduces the Scope of an Entry Level Labor Market: Gastroenterology With and Without a Centralized Match," NBER Working Papers 8616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2007. "The Effects of a Centralized Clearinghouse on Job Placement, Wages, and Hiring Practices," NBER Working Papers 13529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Guillaume Haeringer & Caterina Calsamiglia & Flip Klijn, 2009. "Constrained School Choice: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 2009.29, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  23. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  24. 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.
  25. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  26. Soohyung Lee, 2008. "Preferences and Choice Constraints in Marital Sorting: Evidence From Korea," Discussion Papers 07-042, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Roth, Alvin & Niederle, Muriel, 2005. "The Gastroenterology Fellowship Market: Should There Be A Match?," Scholarly Articles 2562766, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. Alistair Wilson & Federico Echenique & Leeat Yariv, 2009. "Clearinghouses for Two-Sided Matching: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 487, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2013.
  34. Haruvy, Ernan & Utku Unver, M., 2007. "Equilibrium selection and the role of information in repeated matching markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 284-289, February.
  35. 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, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 201-235, February.
  36. 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.
  37. Li, Hao & Rosen, Sherwin, 1998. "Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 371-87, June.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
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