Tuesday, October 23, 2012

matching markets

Speaking of matching markets, it's pretty strange that the economics job market, which is so nicely streamlined and centralized, doesn't use a stable matching mechanism. In terms of the original Gale-Shapley algorithm, it's missing the feature in which women can call of whatever engagement they've previously accepted if a better man asks in the next round of offers. In other words, once you accept a job, you can't really get out of it to accept a better one. That's a problem because offers aren't made at the same time by all universities.

This causes a lot of stress for job market candidates, and I'm sure for universities too, who play a convoluted timing game to try to get their most preferred candidate. Would it really be so hard for universities to agree to a set time period in which offers can be made and accepted and then reneged if something better comes along? I'm not sure who stands to lose, and I'm pretty sure the gains must outweigh whatever losses there are.

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