Clayton Featherstone is a market designer who already has an unusual amount of experience in designing and implementing choice mechanisms. (If you recently got an assignment from Teach for America, or were assigned to a country for your global immersion requirement at HBS, you've benefited from his work.) His job market paper is an investigation of the properties of "rank efficient" mechanisms, which are designed to produce outcomes whose distribution of ranks can't be stochastically dominated:
Rank Efficiency: Investigating a Widespread Ordinal Welfare Criterion
Here's the Abstract: "Many institutions that allocate scarce goods based on rank-order preferences gauge the success of their assignments by looking at rank distributions, that is, at how many participants get their first choice, how many get their second choice, and so on. For example, San Francisco Unified School District, Teach for America, and Harvard Business School all evaluate assignments in this way. Preferences over rank distributions capture the practical (but non-Paretian) intuition that hurting one agent to help ten might be desirable. Motivated by this, call an assignment rank efficient if its rank distribution cannot feasibly be stochastically dominated. Rank efficient mechanisms are simple linear programs that can be solved either by a computer or through a sequential improvement process where at each step, the policy-maker executes a potentially non-Pareto-improving trade cycle. Both methods are used in the field. Preference data from Featherstone and Roth (2011)'s study of a strategy-proof match shows that if agents were to truthfully reveal their preferences, a rank efficient mechanism could significantly outperform alternatives like random serial dictatorship and the probabilistic serial mechanism. Rank efficiency also dovetails nicely with previous literature: it is a refinement of ordinal efficiency (and hence of ex post efficiency). Although rank efficiency is theoretically incompatible with strategy-proofness, rank efficient mechanisms can admit a truth-telling equilibrium in low information environments. Finally, a competitive equilibrium mechanism like that of Hylland and Zeckhauser (1979) generates a straightforward generalization of rank efficiency and sheds light on how rank efficiency interfaces with fairness considerations."
Clayton is an unusually experienced market designer whose field experience motivates novel theoretical insights. He's also a talented experimenter who studies market design issues in the lab. He's a Stanford Ph.D. who is finishing up a two-year postdoc with me at Harvard. His other papers are on his Stanford job market page; you could hire him this year.