Thursday, June 11, 2015

Who gets what and why interview

Here's an interview I gave last week in New York, at Quartz (

The hidden economic rules behind Tinder, marriage, kidneys, and college admissions

"Roth swung by Quartz’s New York offices recently to chat about his new book, Who Gets What—and Why, which explains how matching markets work, why almost everyone makes it illegal to buy kidneys, and why it’s increasingly rare for people to marry their high-school sweethearts. Here are edited excerpts of our conversation."

Here's one snippet:

"You sound very excited in some parts of the book with some of the opportunities out there. [Editor’s note: Stanford University is in the heart of Silicon Valley.] For instance, some of the billion-dollar unicorn start-ups, such as Airbnb and Uber. We usually describe them as companies but you describe them as marketplaces.

Absolutely. Airbnb is a matching market between travelers and hosts. Uber is a matching market between travelers and drivers.

It seems like a boom time at least for these kinds of markets. Why now?

Well some of the reasons are technological. It’s hard to think of eBay before the internet. It’s hard to think of Uber before the smartphone. With smartphones you carry a marketplace in your pocket, so you have more access than ever to marketplaces. I think that’s a big part of the reason."

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