The Econometrics of Matching Models
In October 2012 the Nobel prize was attributed to Al Roth and Lloyd Shapley for their work on matching. Both the seminal Gale-Shapley (1962) paper and most of Roth’s work were concerned with allocation mechanisms when prices or other transfers cannot be used—what we will call non-transferable utility (NTU) in this survey. Gale and Shapley used college admissions, marriage, and roommate assignments as examples; and Roth’s fundamental work in market design has led to major improvements in the National Resident Matching Program (Roth and Peranson 1999) and to the creation of a mechanism for kidney exchange (Roth, Sönmez and Ünver 2004.) The resulting insights have been applied to a host of issues, including the allocation of students to schools, the marriage market with unbalanced gender distributions, the role of marital prospects in human capital investment decisions, the social impact of improved birth control technologies and many others. The econometrics of matching models have recently been reconsidered, from different and equally innovative perspectives. The goal of the present project will be to survey these methodological advances. We shall describe the main difficulties at stake, the various answers provided so far, and the issues that remain open.
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