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Unraveling Reduces the Scope of an Entry Level Labor Market: Gastroenterology With and Without a Centralized Match

  • Muriel Niederle
  • Alvin E. Roth

From 1986 through 1997 the entry-level market for American gastroenterologists was organized by a centralized clearinghouse. Before, and since, it has been conducted via a decentralized market in which appointment dates have unraveled to well over a year before the start of employment. The career paths of gastroenterologists therefore offer a unique opportunity to examine the difference between the market when appointments are decentralized and early, versus when they are made later via a centralized clearinghouse. (Most centralized clearinghouses remain in use once established, and so there is no way to separate changes due to the clearinghouse from other changes that may have taken place over time.) We find that, both before and after the years in which the centralized clearinghouse was used, gastroenterologists are less mobile, and more likely to be employed at the same hospital in which they were internal medicine residents, than when the clearinghouse was in use. This suggests that the clearinghouse serves not only to coordinate the timing of appointments, but that it also increases the scope of the market, compared to decentralized markets with early appointments and exploding offers. This has implications for theories of market failure due to unraveling over time.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8616.

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Date of creation: Dec 2001
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Publication status: published as Niederle, Muriel and Alvin E. Roth. "Unraveling Reduces Mobility In A Labor Market: Gastroenterology With And Without A Centralized Match," Journal of Political Economy, 2003, v111(6,Dec), 1342-1352.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8616
Note: LS
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  1. Ulrich Kamecke, 1993. "Wage Formation in a Centralized Matching Market," Discussion Paper Serie A 422, University of Bonn, Germany.
  2. 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.
  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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Li, Hao & Rosen, Sherwin, 1998. "Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 371-87, June.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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