Unraveling Yields Inefficient Matchings: Evidence from Post- Season College Football Bowls
Many markets have “unraveled” and experienced transactions at dispersed and apparently inefficiently early times. Often these markets develop institutions to coordinate and delay the timing of transactions. However it has proved difficult to gather data that allows the efficiency gains to be identified and measured. The present paper considers a market for which such data can be gathered. Prior to 1992, college football teams were matched for post-season play, in “bowl” games, up to several weeks before the end of the regular football season. Since 1992, the market has undergone a series of reorganizations that postpone this matching until the end of the regular season. We show that this has promoted more efficient matching of teams, as measured by the resulting television viewership. The chief driver has been the increased ability of later matching to produce “championship” games.
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