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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 Ãnver, 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. Hanna W. Halaburda, 2008. "Unravelling in Two-Sided Matching Markets and Similarity of Preferences," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-068, Harvard Business School.
  2. Yan Chen & Tayfun Sönmez, 2004. "School Choice: An Experimental Study," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 622, Boston College Department of Economics.
  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. Roth, Alvin & Niederle, Muriel, 2003. "Unraveling Reduces the Scope of an Entry Level Labor Market: Gastroenterology with and without a Centralized Match," Scholarly Articles 2623686, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. repec:pit:wpaper:487 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Ockenfels, Axel & Roth, Alvin E., 2006. "Late and multiple bidding in second price Internet auctions: Theory and evidence concerning different rules for ending an auction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 297-320, May.
  7. Alvin E. Roth & Elliott Peranson, 1999. "The Redesign of the Matching Market for American Physicians: Some Engineering Aspects of Economic Design," NBER Working Papers 6963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Joana Pais & Agnes Pinter, 2007. "School Choice and Information. An Experimental Study on Matching Mechanisms," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 018, University of Siena.
  10. Caterina Calsamiglia & Guillaume Haeringer & Flip Klijn, 2008. "Constrained School Choice: An Experimental Study," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 757.08, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  11. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  12. 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.
  13. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E Roth, 2003. "Unraveling Reduces Mobility in a Labor Market: Gastroenterology with and without a Centralized Match," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000428, David K. Levine.
  14. Ernan Haruvy & Alvin E. Roth & M. Utku Unver, 2004. "The Dynamics of Law Clerk Matching: An Experimental and Computational Investigation of Proposals for Reform of the Market," Experimental 0404001, EconWPA.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Fainmesser, Itay P., 2013. "Social networks and unraveling in labor markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(1), pages 64-103.
  19. 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.
  20. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Maitreesh Ghatak & Jeanne Lafortune, 2009. "Marry for What: Caste and Mate Selection in Modern India," NBER Working Papers 14958, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  24. M. Utku Unver, 1999. "Backward Unraveling over Time: The Evolution of Strategic Behavior in the Entry-Level British Medical Labor Markets," Game Theory and Information 9907001, EconWPA, revised 16 Jul 1999.
  25. M. Utku Ünver, 2005. "On the survival of some unstable two-sided matching mechanisms," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 33(2), pages 239-254, 06.
  26. Li, Hao & Rosen, Sherwin, 1998. "Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 371-87, June.
  27. Guillaume R. Fréchette & Alvin E. Roth & M. Utku Ünver, 2007. "Unraveling yields inefficient matchings: evidence from post-season college football bowls," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(4), pages 967-982, December.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Ettore Damiano & Hao Li, 2004. "Unraveling of Dynamic Sorting," 2004 Meeting Papers 174, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  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. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. Soohyung Lee, 2008. "Preferences and Choice Constraints in Marital Sorting: Evidence From Korea," Discussion Papers 07-042, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  39. 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.
  40. Gunter J. Hitsch & Ali Hortaçsu & Dan Ariely, 2010. "Matching and Sorting in Online Dating," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 130-63, March.
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