Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unraveling: a brief review (and reply)

The peer review process, for all its flaws, normally eliminates the need to write the kind of wide-ranging reply that I have forthcoming in the Journal of Labor Economics.  Here's the abstract and introduction: the link to the full paper is below.

Abstract: In this reply I describe the unraveling of transaction dates in several markets, including the labor market for new lawyers hired by large law firms. This and other markets illustrate that unraveling can occur in markets with competitive prices, that it can result in substantial inefficiencies, and that marketplace institutions play a role in restoring efficiency. All of these contradict the conclusions of Priest (2010).

And here are the opening paragraphs of the paper:

"Priest’s (2010) paper, “Timing ‘Disturbances’ in Labor Market Contracting: Roth’s Findings and the Effects of Labor Market Monopsony” seeks to rebut what he describes as “The work of Alvin E. Roth and colleagues writing in what might be described as the Roth tradition” about “a curious set of phenomena in some labor and product markets.”

"Briefly, the “tradition” Priest addresses has studied the timing of transactions, and observed that some markets go through episodes in which they unravel in time, with transactions becoming earlier and more diffuse in time from year to year, and with offers often coming to have very short durations (“exploding” offers). This has often led to changes in marketplace institutions, including rules and regulations to introduce a uniform time for market transactions, and restore thickness. Frequently this involves facilitating a marketplace at a later as well as a more uniform time. (For overviews, see Roth and Xing 1994, and Niederle and Roth 2009.)"

Roth, Alvin E, "Marketplace institutions related to the timing of transactions, and reply to Priest (2010)" Journal of Labor Economics, forthcoming (maybe April 2012).

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