Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Matching in the August AER

Three papers in the August issue of the American Economic Review suggests that the study of matching is thriving.

(2) A Field Study on Matching with Network Externalities
Mariagiovanna Baccara, Ayşe İmrohoroğlu, Alistair J. Wilson and Leeat Yariv
We study the effects of network externalities within a protocol for matching faculty to offices in a new building. Using web and survey data on faculty's attributes and choices, we identify the different layers of the social network: institutional affiliation, coauthorships, and friendships. We quantify the effects of network externalities on choices and outcomes, disentangle the layers of the networks, and quantify their relative influence. Finally, we assess the protocol used from a welfare perspective. Our study suggests the importance and feasibility of accounting for network externalities in assignment problems and evaluates techniques that can be employed to this end. (JEL C78, C93, D62, D85, Z13)
(10) Organ Allocation Policy and the Decision to Donate
Judd B. Kessler and Alvin E. Roth
Organ donations from deceased donors provide the majority of transplanted organs in the United States, and one deceased donor can save numerous lives by providing multiple organs. Nevertheless, most Americans are not registered organ donors despite the relative ease of becoming one. We study in the laboratory an experimental game modeled on the decision to register as an organ donor and investigate how changes in the management of organ waiting lists might impact donations. We find that an organ allocation policy giving priority on waiting lists to those who previously registered as donors has a significant positive impact on registration. (JEL C91, D64, I11)
(17) The Multi-unit Assignment Problem: Theory and Evidence from Course Allocation at Harvard
Eric Budish and Estelle Cantillon
We use theory and field data to study the draft mechanism used to allocate courses at Harvard Business School. We show that the draft is manipulable in theory, manipulated in practice, and that these manipulations cause significant welfare loss. Nevertheless, we find that welfare is higher than under its widely studied strategyproof alternative. We identify a new link between fairness and welfare that explains why the draft performs well despite the costs of strategic behavior, and then design a new draft that reduces these costs. We draw several broader lessons for market design, regarding Pareto efficiency, fairness, and strategyproofness. (JEL D63, D82, I23)

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