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Who Gets What ― and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design

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A Nobel laureate reveals the often surprising rules that govern a vast array of activities — both mundane and life-changing — in which money may play little or no role.

If you’ve ever sought a job or hired someone, applied to college or guided your child into a good kindergarten, asked someone out on a date or been asked out, you’ve participated in a kind of market. Most of the study of economics deals with commodity markets, where the price of a good connects sellers and buyers. But what about other kinds of “goods,” like a spot in the Yale freshman class or a position at Google? This is the territory of matching markets, where “sellers” and “buyers” must choose each other, and price isn’t the only factor determining who gets what.

Alvin E. Roth is one of the world’s leading experts on matching markets. He has even designed several of them, including the exchange that places medical students in residencies and the system that increases the number of kidney transplants by better matching donors to patients. In Who Gets What — And Why, Roth reveals the matching markets hidden around us and shows how to recognize a good match and make smarter, more confident decisions.

272 pages, Hardcover

First published October 24, 2014

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About the author

Alvin E. Roth

19 books74 followers
Alvin Elliot Roth (born December 18, 1951) is an American academician personality, he is the Craig and Susan McCaw professor of economics at Stanford University and the Gund professor of economics and business administration emeritus at Harvard University.

Roth has made significant contributions to the fields of game theory, market design and experimental economics, and is known for his emphasis on applying economic theory to solutions for "real-world" problems.

In 2012, he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences jointly with Lloyd Shapley "for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design".

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 259 reviews
Profile Image for Athan Tolis.
309 reviews580 followers
November 11, 2016
There’s an apocryphal story about how Richard Nixon’s speechwriter quit. Back in the days before the autocue became portable and discreet, speechwriters would create enormous flashcards through which the politician would flip during his speech. The famous last speech allegedly climaxed as follows:

FLASHCARD: We can whip inflation, and I’m going to tell you how
FLASHCARD: We can find every American man and woman a job and I’m going to tell you how
FLASHCARD: We can win in Vietnam and I’m going to tell you how
FLASHCARD: You’re on your own, bud

Halfway through “Who Gets What” it starts to feel a lot like Alvin Roth is about to pull that type of stunt on his reader. He keeps talking about how he has an algorithm that will decide on fair kidney exchanges; an algorithm to place doctors with residency programs; an algorithm to place law students with the right clerkship; an algorithm to place kids at the right nursery in New York and the right public school in Boston. An algorithm that can’t be gamed. An algorithm that makes the market “thick.” An algorithm that prevents the market from going “early” or running into “congestion” but helps it stay “fast” and “safe”

On page 131 out of 230, while I’m despairing there’s ever going to be an algorithm in the book, but also secretly hoping it might bring about world peace or help me grow more hair on my scalp (to say nothing of knowing more about kidneys and kidney exchanges than I ever thought I would), comes some early relief in the form of the words “PART III: Design Inventions to Make Markets Smarter, Thicker and Faster.” Lo and behold, on page 141 the algorithm appears, as it’s meant to be applied to employers and applicants for jobs:

Step 0. Applicants and employers privately submit preferences to a clearinghouse in the form of rank order lists

Step 1. Each employer offers jobs to its top-choice candidates up to the number of its available positions. Each applicant looks at all the offers he or she has received, tentatively accepts the best one (the one highest on her preference list) and rejects any other

Step n. Each employer that had a job offer rejected in the previous step, offers that job to its next choice, if one remains. Each applicant considers the offer he or she has been holding together with his or her new offer(s) and tentatively accepts the most preferred of these. The applicant rejects any remaining offers –including possibly the one that had been tentatively accepted earlier but is no longer the best offer received.

The algorithm ends when no offer is rejected, so that no firm wants to make any additional offers. At that point, each applicant and employer is matched by having each applicant accept whatever offer he or she had most recently tentatively accepted. That is, all acceptances are deferred until the end, when no more offers are forthcoming

So there you have it. That’s the magic algorithm that won Alvin Roth the Nobel Prize. Yeah, I was underwhelmed too. But it’s apparently very clever.

The best thing about it is that after you go through these steps there aren��t any applicants and employers that aren’t matched to each other but wish they were. These guys, whenever they exist (after an inferior algorithm is used that allows them to occur) are very destabilizing, because they could potentially get on the phone to each other and bring the whole edifice down, so they have a special name, they are called “blocking pairs.”

The proof is as follows: suppose Athan got matched with Merrill but had ranked JP Morgan above Merrill. Well, that’s some tough dudu, because the way the algorithm works it’s clear JP Morgan filled up its analyst class before it got down to Athan, or else Athan would have switched from having tentatively accepted Merrill to accepting JP Morgan during the algorithm. So Athan never got shown JP Morgan, basically.

So the JP Morgan / Athan “blocking pair” does not exist and by similar logic neither does any other blocking pair.

Sadly, the author does not explain adequately why all’s good if there are no blocking pairs.

In particular, the author fails to demonstrate why there’s no point in strategically putting your second choice first if you are not a very strong candidate. He claims this is a nice feature of the algorithm, but if I was applying for a school spot for my kid and I knew this algorithm was being used, I’d still go conservative and put down my second choice first if it was good enough, to make sure I don’t get my third choice. In particular, I suspect the algorithm is not entirely bulletproof and requires a lot of agents on both sides to rank each other honestly. Perhaps I’m wrong but I’d like to see a proof. If you have one, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE list it below.

Three fantastic chapters follow. One on signaling (example: the peacock’s tail, a long line outside a good restaurant), one on “repugnant” markets in goods or services that we think should not be traded (or, alternatively, not traded for money) and finally a truly exquisite final chapter on what a free market is and what it isn’t. I loved that chapter. It was worth the price of the book, and the pain I endured before I got to it.

And then the penny dropped. The guy wrote a meandering 167-page book about the algorithm and the publisher said “can we pad this out, perhaps” and the author added three more chapters he was saving for somewhere else.

How do I know? Page 105 the author states that “No companies have yet made a large-scale market for restaurant reservations as I write this in mid-2014,” yet on page 218 of the killer last chapter he discusses booking a restaurant on OpenTable, which was recently sold to Priceline for 2.7 billion dollars and (ask around) has already totally transformed the restaurant business in places like San Francisco, New York and London. Interesting, eh?

With all that said, this was a book well worth reading. For the humor, for the large number of awesome quotes (example, page 10 “Decisions that depend on what others are doing are called strategic decisions”) and for forcing me to think.

But it would have benefited from another round of editing. Still, this was a good book, if not a great book.
Profile Image for Mara.
400 reviews280 followers
June 14, 2018
[Preface/Warning: This is a long-ago unfinished review, but, in light of Lloyd Shapley's recent death, I figure it's time for me to just let it fly free as is.]

And let the review begin:
Well guys, I think I've discovered a real up and comer in the field of behavioral economics. Wait— what's that? He already won the Nobel Prize in Economics ?!? Ok, so maybe I'm not the first to catch on to the brilliance of Alvin E. Roth (damn those Swedes for always being one step ahead of me).

However, the greatness of Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design , Roth's first foray into “popular science” writing, isn't all about sheer intellectual horsepower. Roth (below, L) takes something complex, the economics of matching markets (markets in which price isn't the only determinant of who gets what”), and manages to make the ideas accessible without losing nuance or oversimplifying.*
Roth and Shapley by Jac Depczyk
Roth's fellow laureate, Lloyd Shapley (above, R), co-wrote a seminal paper on similar tricky transactions (those involving “indivisible” goods, without the use of money) in a 1974 issue of the Journal of Mathematical Economics with Herbert Scarf. The Scarf Shapley paper established a set of cyclical trades called “top trading cycles” in which all parties are ideally matched. I'm sure the paper is totally brilliant, but before you jump up to find a copy, just remember that, for most of us, it's…well, I'll let GOB tell you.

GOB Half in English half in squiggly

So what's all the fuss about market design?
Markets are everywhere, and the role of market design is to “helps solve problems that existing marketplaces haven't been able to solve naturally.”

Kidney Swapping Fun
Roth, being the clever guy he is, starts out with a “market” in which proper matches are a matter of life and death— kidney transplants . When tasked with creating a sort of “clearinghouse” for kidney exchanges (now known as the New England Program for Kidney Exchange or NEPKE), there were several salient factors that Roth and co. had to take into account:
1. Kidneys are “indivisible goods” (you can't just give four people quarter-kidneys and tell them to go on their merry ways)
2. At least in the U.S., money can't be involved (buying kidneys falls into the category known as “repugnant transactions”† )
3. There are “paired” patients and donors (people willing to donate a kidney for a relative, or friend, but whose kidneys weren't biological matches for said person)
4. Whenever humans (donors, recipients, doctors, hospital administrators) are involved, there's the possibility of “gaming the system”
kidney exchange chain
Avoiding a level of detail that I will, undoubtedly, misconstrue, I'll just tell you that Roth adeptly describes the intricacy of creating kidney swap
“‘top trading cycles,’ with the property that no group of patients and donors could go off on their own and find a cycle of trades that they liked better.”
Even if kidneys are the last thing on your mind, the challenges overcome in order to make the market: thick (by attracting lots of buyers and sellers), quick (time is of the essence, and congestion is to be avoided), and safe/secure are fairly universal.

Sounds easy enough…
Ok, let's try this new knowledge on for size. Perhaps in a case that's not so far to one side of the commodities—matching market spectrum.
Archer How Hard Could It Be
You've got your product (say, a metric tonne of it, meaning 1,000 kilos), which means you're looking for someone who wants what you have (supply, demand, nothing fancy here).

What problems could a marketplace possibly have? Well, kind of a lot. In order for things to run smoothly, you have to have the right amounts of: thickness (players at the table), speed , security , and simplicity .

Humans, the unpredictable sneaky lot of us, pose a wide array of challenges to marketplaces and market designers. For one, there's the trust factor (security). Even with kidney swapping, they had to deal with scheduling “simultaneous” surgeries, for fear that, once a donor's patient partner had received a kidney, the donor might later renege on the offer. Though this fear turned out to be pretty unwarranted, the point is that you can't just take people at their word (or palabra, if you will).

Archer palabra oc

Speaking of trust, how does one know that what one is buying is legit? Parties on either side of a transaction need to have “enough information in order to make an optimal decision.

With “commodities” this often takes place by way of quality control. In fact, without quality control (think grading of flour, or maple syrup) commodities markets would have to be "matching markets," which would be highly inefficient.

So, yeah. This review isn't done. There are so many more Archer gifs, and so many more ideas to communicate. But, seriously, just read the book…
* I'm sure my review with be chock full of oversimplifications, but, then again, I'm no Nobel Laureate
† For his purposes, Roth defines these as “transactions that some people want to engage in and that are objected to by people who may not themselves experience any direct harm.”
11 reviews10 followers
September 29, 2015
Alvin Roth won the Nobel Prize in economics. If you didn't know that, well, this book will make sure you do. Oh, he has also taught some brilliant PhD students, who has solved some very challenging market-matching problems. Yep, Mr. Roth is nothing short of smart, brilliant, .

As a writer, however, he falls short of explaining the intricacies of the market problems that he is trying to design. Anytime the narrative starts to become engaging, it will be disrupted by either a completely different topic, or a reminder that he won the Nobel Prize. It took the author a good portion of the book before he finally explained his matching algorithm, and it was only 2 pages or so.

The book can be condensed into this pdf alone: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prize.... Read that and save yourself some time.
Profile Image for Amin.
354 reviews322 followers
March 28, 2019
"فارسی در ادامه"

Devil is in the details! This is the number one lesson of this book for those want to bridge their knowledge to practice. Although sometimes the reader might get bored because of the details in some chapters, it was insightful to get more familiarized with the concepts such as matching markets, market design, repugnance, thick market, congested market, etc.

به عنوان یک مطالعه عمومی از یکی از مهمترین مباحث اقتصادی حال حاضر که برای نویسنده جایزه نوبل اقتصاد هم به همراه داشته، اثری خوب و مفید بود. اما برای من مهمتر از مفاهیم اقتصادی اش، جریان فکری و حرفه ای نویسنده و همکارانش بود که نشان میداد، نه کلی پردازی های مفهومی و نه معادلات ریاضی اولویت اصلی در اقتصاد نیستند. به قول معروف، شیطان در جزئیات است که باعث می شود با دست به عمل زدن مشکلات خودشان را نشان دهند و آن مفاهیم و معادلات کم اهمیت جلوه کنند. تلاش این گروه اقتصاددانان برای برآمدن از پس این جزئیات و حل مشکلات عملی واقعا آموزنده بود

به طور کلی کتاب به بازارهای به اصطلاح تطبیقی و طراحی آنها می پردازد. یعنی بازار برای محصولاتی که از منطق اقتصاد بازار آزاد تبعیت نمی کنند، بلکه برای هر محصول باید خریدار مناسب را پیدا کرد و به نوعی با آن تطبیق داد. یکی از مثالهای معروف کتاب طراحی بازار برای کلیه انسان است که مسئله پیچیده ای در دنیاست و در توضیح آن گریزی هم به ایران میزند. البته جزئیات اقتصادی و پرداختن به نمونه های مورد بحث ممکن است گاهی خسته کننده جلوه کند، اما درکل ارزش خواندن دارد
Profile Image for Aloke.
198 reviews52 followers
December 30, 2018
I would include this in my list of books that explain how the world really works. Others on my list: Animal Spirits, The Great Escape. I feel like Factfullness would be another candidate and hopefully I’ll get to it soon.
382 reviews1 follower
September 12, 2015
I recognize I have no right to criticize a Nobel Prize winner, but while I liked the information presented in this book, I thought it was written at a level that was far too basic. I would have appreciated more examples and much more detail. This book provided basic level information but should have been either much shorter or much longer.
Profile Image for Vijai.
211 reviews57 followers
July 10, 2020
If you doubted the author's bonafides as an academic and Nobel laureate then this book will destroy those doubts. Don't worry, the author will tell you how awesome he is, repeatedly.

Here, let me give you condensed version of what's in this book - "The markets aren't what you think. The markets are what I think it is. I also have the answers, look at all the magical stuff I've done!"

This book is the author's one big resume.

Look, he's a great guy and the ideas in this book aren't bad. But, I am a cash strapped guy with little money looking to be enlightened like you. We need knowledge, actionable tools and direction to rate a book high. All I got here was "Oh that problem with admissions, I totally solved it". What? Bruh...how do I solve my daily challenges with this knowledge? Is what you just said even relevant for us schmucks? How does my life become better by doing what you did?

I get it. I am supposed to figure it out and all. Well, too bad, going by the author's spiel. He should have sold this book to a demography that can figure shit out. By having this listed in self-help category and the back-cover saying this - "In Who Gets What—and Why, Nobel laureate Alvin E. Roth reveals the matching markets hidden around us and shows us how to recognize a good match and make smarter, more confident decisions." - the book was marketed to you and me, the lowest common denominators. Blokes who need help figuring shit out. A critical ingredient I was told will be there but wasn't.
Profile Image for Bekhradaa.
140 reviews58 followers
February 14, 2019
The business model that makes Google one of the most valuable companies in the world involves running auctions for words typed into its search engine. Every time you search, you not only see the “organic” results of the search for the words you have typed; you also see advertisements. The ads that you can see, and the order in which they appear, depend on which advertisers win an auction conducted automatically by Google at the time of each search… the ad that appears in the first position on your screen was submitted by the highest bidder for your search words, who pays the price bid by the next-higher bidder, whose ad appears just below it, and so forth, sometimes for a whole string of ads.
Profile Image for Ryan.
39 reviews
June 27, 2019
I’ll save you the trouble:

1) I built the Kidney Exchange
2) Markets break for various reasons.
3) I built the Kidney Exchange.
4) There are ways to fix broken markets.
5) I built the Kidney Exchange.
6) I have a Nobel Prize.
7) I built the Kidney Exchange.
Profile Image for Summer.
161 reviews4 followers
January 20, 2018
I've learned some new terms: matching market (market where money is not the only deciding factor, examples are job market, dating market, etc.), thick market (a market where more proposals are made to a small percentage of parties, for example, a desirable job gets more applicants, a beautiful woman gets more pursuers), etc.

That's it.

What attracted me to this book was the promise printed on the book cover, "(Roth reveals what factors make these markets work well - or badly- and) shows us all how to recognize a good match and make smarter, more confident decisions." But I couldn't find the answers!

If any fellow readers have discovered the keys to "recognize a good match", and "make smarter, more confident decisions" in the book, please let me know. Thank you!
Profile Image for Becca.
609 reviews22 followers
February 19, 2023
This book has been on my radar for ages, and I'm glad I read it as a basic intro to certain aspects of game theory I wasn't previously familiar with.

Roth talks about economics from the perspective of matchmaking--there is someone out there producing something and someone else who wants the item produced, and somehow they need to come to an agreement on the value of that item. In its purest (I hate that word but can't think of another) form, items should go to the individual who values it most. No problems there, but once you substitute "money" for "value," things fall apart very quickly for me. Roth uses the example of auctions as a method for "price discovery." An item is only worth its top bid, and the item always goes to the bidder putting forth the most money; or, in his words, the bidder who values it most. He describes this as a kind of perfect system of matchmaking, but I see so many flaws. Just because one person can outbid another doesn't mean they value the item more--it just means they have more bidding power. The hallmark of a healthy market shouldn't be the highest price but the number of needs met in the market. Highest-price bidding means the haves will always continue to have and will always continue to have the power to outbid the have-nots, creating a system ripe for greed and corruption.

This major quibble aside, I did find some valuable concepts to carry with me. The idea of "matchmaking" in these terms is valuable not just in auctions or even markets as a whole. The idea can be applied to finding a romantic partner (in which all offers are rejected until someone proves both their own worth and recognizes the value in the other) but in less romantic situations, like residency matches for aspiring doctors--in which both schools and students rank each other according to priority. These priorities are then fed to an algorithm that matches the preferences of both entities until all players have a match they are satisfied with--and what's amazing is that this algorithm guarantees a satisfactory outcome for all. Students list only programs they are willing to attend while school list only students they are willing to except. If the algorithm runs its course and either a program or a student is left out, it's because one of the entities didn't value them enough to even list them. And for students/programs who want to ensure they get a match regardless of first priority, they can makes their lists to include all possible options in preferred order, thereby guaranteeing they will have a spot in a program or have all spots in the program filled.

Anyway, regardless of how you feel about economics, this is a thought-provoking introduction to understanding who gets what and why.
Profile Image for Selena S.
53 reviews
March 2, 2022
Was surprised to see this book is <4 stars on Goodreads but reading through the negative reviews, people are just complaining he talked about his Nobel prize work too much. Uh… isn’t that the point of reading a book like this, to learn about Nobel prize-winning concepts? From the guy who came up with it? Tough crowd.

Others complain there’s a lack of detail and rigor but these concepts (stable marriage and second price auctions) are in entry-level classes, so this should be “trivial” :p

But seriously, the best part of the book is precisely that you don’t need to understand the math to understand it - he writes things logically and plainly so anyone can wrap their head around the case studies. I thought all the examples were interesting and varied and learned a lot!
Profile Image for Joanna.
708 reviews
July 29, 2022
Lucid and thought-provoking explanation of a subject I’m not naturally inclined to be interested in. I especially liked the part about how matching for medical residencies works.
Profile Image for Sandra.
856 reviews7 followers
October 5, 2015
A book about matching, and not E Harmony.com type of matching. I continue to be amazed at the role economists have in explaining how things work, and making things work better, and not just the stock market. I don't think anyone really knows why the stock market does what it does. Maybe the talking heads need to justify their jobs. Dr. Roth was a pioneer in helping to develop an effective kidney matching program. He and his co harts became interested in the problem when there was not a match for a close relative. They devised an algorithm for matching non related donors. It goes sort of like this. Pretend my relative needs a kidney. No relative is a match. But John Doe, who lives a state away is. And John Does wife needs a kidney but there is no relative match. But I match. Thus I give my kidney to Johns wife, and John gives his kidney to my relative. Without Dr. Roth's unrelated donor algorithm, neither of these 2 donations could have taken place. He also helped develop the Medical Residency Match Program. Prior to matching programs, often slots went unfilled, or a very qualified student did not receive an offer. Neo doctor were often forced to declare their intent early in their medical training. None of this was beneficial to our health care system. Apparently it is still not perfect but much much better. And for any of you trying to land a better job, or help your child land a better job, there is a chapter that address's the infamous cover letter. Almost makes me want to look for a job. Notice I said almost. Alvin Roth shared the Nobel Prize in economics in 2012 with Lloyd Shapely. I have only recently become aware that some Wealth Management Companies (that's what they call some of them stock brokers now) are also using these same economic theories in deciding where to invest your millions. Game Theory and Making Money do not sound like they should be in the same sentence. But they are! Perhaps I am ready to tackle Adam Smith's 1776 classic The Wealth of Nations.
Profile Image for Darren.
1,193 reviews49 followers
July 4, 2015
Our life is determined by a set of complex rules and markets - both regular and potentially life-changing – and this book looks at the role of so-called matching markets and considers amongst other things how we might be able to utilise them to make better, more confident decisions.

Certainly this is a different book that starts really well (and finishes in a similar vein) but around the middle it begins to get a little more repetitive, less focussed and flabby. It gets you thinking about how our lives are shaped and how a series of transactions occur, sometimes effectively and sometimes less so dependent on whether a “commodity” is in demand or not, such as the dating scene or a job search. Yet just because something is in demand or desirable, it does not necessarily mean that it is in a perfect, harm-free position.

The book is more than a “life help and changing”-type book as it touches on many different elements such as economics, market design, commodity pricing, human interaction and behaviours – all mixed together. It can make for interesting, general reading even with the aforementioned flabby bit around the middle. Not every development is necessarily positive, especially in the longer term, the book notes, such as how billions of dollars are being invested so that a select few can gain a couple of milliseconds over their rivals in certain financial transactions; yet it is not making the larger market any better and it may be creating greater harm in the process.

What else can one say? This is an interesting, thought provoking book and one of those things that you might not have necessarily picked up but if you stay the course you will emerge a better-informed person by the end of it. It is a good general book that can also still give the more worldly-wise a new perspective or an additional data point or two.

Who Gets What and Why, written by Alvin E. Roth and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 9780544291133, 272 pages. YYYY
Profile Image for Diego.
469 reviews3 followers
January 1, 2016
Alvin Roth hace una divertida e inteligente presentación sobre el diseño de mercados, sobre como entender mejor como funcionan los mercados ( convencionales y de matching) nos ayuda a corregirlos cuando fallan.

Roth premio Nobel de economía de 2012 usa su enorme conocimiento teórico y su gran experiencia practica en el diseño de mercados para guiar al lector con ejemplos que van desde los mercados de donantes de riñones, de lugares en las escuelas, de puestos de trabajo, de matrimonio hasta los tazones colegiales y los restaurantes para explicarnos como estos mercados enfrentaban problemas de congestión o se deshacían por regulaciones mal implementadas o por errores en su diseño.

El libro trata de hacer ver al lector como virtualmente en cada actividad existen múltiples mercados operando y como si bien los mercados han existido desde que existe el hombre y son uno de nuestros inventos más poderosos, hoy el diseño de mercados es más importante que nunca y explica el éxito de negocios como Amazon, Arbnb o Uber.

Muy recomendable lectura.
Profile Image for ریچارد.
143 reviews30 followers
May 27, 2019
نکته جالب در باره نویسنده برنده نوبل اقتصاد کتاب، توان ایشون در نوشتن کتابی خوشخوان برای مخاطبان غیرمتخصصه.
نکته جالب دیگه کتاب حضور چند محقق اهل کشور ترکیه به عنوان همکاران نویسنده در پروژه‌های مختلفه، محققینی که اغلب از همون داخل کشورشون با ایشون همکاری می‌کردن. موضوعی که باعث حسادته. هر چند خدا رو شکر وضع دانشجوهای اقتصادمون برای رفتن به دانشگاه های برتر دنیا از مدیریتی‌ها بهتره.
نکته دیگه بازار کلیه ست، موضعی که کتاب در موردش توضیحات زیادی میده، پیچدگی های طراحی بازار مطابق قوانین کشورهای غربی که فروش اعضا رو ممنوع میکنن و سختی‌هایی که بیماران محبورن تحمل کنن و متقابلا مسائل اخلاقی که باید در نظر داشت. تنها جای دنیا که به لحاظ قانونی امکان خرید و فروشش وجود داره ایرانه، موضوعی که لزوما بد نیست، این امکان که نیازی بیرون از بازار سیاه تامین شه یکی از مراحلیه که در انتهاش مطلوبیت ذینفع ها بهینه میشه
طبعا قوانین حمایتی و طراحی مناسب بازار شرایط رو به حالت عادلانه نزدیک تر می‌کنه
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Brian Fiedler.
83 reviews8 followers
August 10, 2018
As another reviewer has pointed out, the fundamental matching algorithm (deferred acceptance algorithm) of Gale and Shapley is finally summarized on page 141-142. Before even starting to read this book, I recommend going to youtube and searching for the video "stable marriage problem numberphile". After watching that, you can then read this book to learn about applications of this algorithm in service of humanity.
Profile Image for Victoria  Yang.
4 reviews
April 4, 2020
Logical, enticing, and compassionate - Professor Al Roth is meticulously kind in his approach to writing an accessible book on the various aspects of the topic of market design. Devoid of excessive discipline jargon that often turns someone without an economic background off, this book is understandable and serves well as an introductory course in understanding key topics such as incentives design, market transparency, market thickness, market safety and constraints etc. - all-important to understand why we need kidney chains to save more lives, why we find certain trades repugnant, and how "economists as engineers". I am definitely not unbiased in my review as an admirer of Professor Roth after hearing him speak about this subject at Stanford, and as an economic student, but I would say if you have your patience, this is a great introduction to some of the most interesting markets - kidney exchange, school choice (e.g. NYC and Boston), radio-frequency auction, etc.
2 reviews1 follower
March 7, 2019
A very interesting read on market design, something that every person has experience with and yet probably hasn't considered. I originally picked up this book after hearing about his work on redesigning a marketplace for kidney exchanges. For example, there are two times as many kidneys on the planet as there are people , and yet there are people who die of kidney failure. This is a market place in which money , or price, cannot play a role in the transaction. The book explains clearly the principles of what makes an efficient marketplace , and emphasizes that markets are human designed inventions, and can be maintained or improved to our benefit.
34 reviews1 follower
January 9, 2022
Very insightful book which gave me a perspectives on markets and underlined the deplorable state of economic "sciences".

On markets: Very well-structured and explained insights into market design and why some markets did not work. I will pull out this book in the future as a help to think about markets I encounter.

On the state of economics: A great example of outdated rationalist thinking leading to some theoretical insights and finally a Nobel award (not the real one, but the one for economists) whose results are not transferrable to reality. Once you are forced to deal with a real problem in the real world, complexity kills your theories and you end up following lists, guide-lines, some common sense and your problem gets easily described with simple language and solved with some ingenuity and all the fancy math you did up-front was actually not useful.
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1,155 reviews150 followers
October 3, 2018
This is a book by a great author who is both a subject-matter expert and the creator of a lot of the things he's writing about, but somehow it manages to be boring and lacking in detail. The premise is that there are markets used to allocate resources, including markets where currency doesn't play a role, and that these markets need to be designed (or have evolved) in certain ways. Unfortunately every example given is so simplified as to really be more worthy of a mass-market magazine article, with no real insights.
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76 reviews3 followers
June 9, 2018
các nội dung liên quan đến thị trường được phân tích dễ hiểu.
Profile Image for Andresa Bastos.
23 reviews
July 13, 2018
Great practical study.

Discovering the matching markets and how to use matching for efficiency.
Profile Image for Gabriela Saade.
43 reviews20 followers
May 2, 2019
This is a very interesting book by Nobel Laureate Alvin Roth about the role of markets in our everyday lives. It highlights the importance of market design in making the distribution of goods, services and even organs more efficient, and also the consequences of poor market design —that always leads us to black markets, corruption and desperate behaviors.

The author differentiates markets driven by money from markets driven by a matching process that sometimes goes unseen (like dorms assignment). He also highlights the fact that money can sometimes make a trade a repugnant activity, which is the case of sex trade. He also mentions markets problems such as congestion and velocity and how to deal with them.

Overall, it’s a good and easy-to-read book with important insights and brilliant ideas about how to make our exchanges, and ultimately, our lives, better.
386 reviews10 followers
June 15, 2017
Roth is one of my favorite economist, if for no other reason than his work on organ matching has led directly to saving hundreds (on the low end) of lives. His book, however, is not one of my favorite pop-econ books. I think it is a great introduction to a field of economics that has largely kept itself out of the spotlight, but I think he makes too much of matching (rather than price) as being a large feature of markets. He notes that in most markets not everything is allocated by price and asserts that this is where his work on matching comes in, yet he fails to mention the vast literature on the evolution of organizations and the various rules by which they allocate things (and why they don't use price). He states that we can learn a lot about markets by analyzing how they fail. This no doubt is true, but I think he might be being a bit daft since he mostly analyzes markets which are banned from using price (e.g. public schools and organ donation). His look into the spectrum auctions is one of the more fascinating parts of the book and will certainly spur many interested readers on to further reading. His practical insights into signals, especially as it relates to online dating, will certainly turn a light bulb on in many lay readers minds (though will certainly be old hat to readers who have read the books by Tim Harford or Robert Frank (or any other pop-econ author)).

I think he gets across that market design is complicated and there are many rules to consider that are specific to each market (who knew that allowing residents the opportunity to renege on an offer would have different implications for fellowship allotment in orthopedics versus cardiology... I didn't). I think his work on organ donation is his most important work, but I also think he is just tinkering around the edges. He notes that only Iran allows a market in kidneys and that we should study it to understand the effects of allowing price to allocate the organs instead of planners. Yet, that is as much as he has to say on the subject of a true market in organs; he doesn't actually discuss any research on the Iranian market (or any other research considering the likely effects of freely traded organs) (which tends to be mixed in its assessment). He also doesn't discuss the various welfare effects of changing the identity of those making offers vs. those deciding whether to accept of reject. For the delayed acceptance algorithm (and it's variants), those making the offer are more likely to get their preferred candidate than those who are receiving the offer.

These may seem nitpicky, but Roth seems very enamored with himself (no doubt because of the success he has had). I think that the hubris that comes from the success that he has had in the various projects can lead to the false notion that planning is easier than it seems. I remember reading an article (was it in Jacobin... I can't remember) when the Nobel committee announced that Roth was their choice. The author of the article took Roth's research as suggesting that socialism was, in fact, a feasible economic system. They used the example of allocating houses (which Roth uses in his book) and came to the conclusion that prices were unnecessary (which Roth does not say in his book). What they failed to take into account was the actual production of the houses (i.e. you need someone to build the houses if you do, indeed, want to allocate those houses). This is what all matching algorithms assume: the production/existence of the thing to be allocated. This is where Roth is mostly silent.
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15 reviews6 followers
February 14, 2018
Nội dung rất có ý nghĩa để hiểu thêm về cách giải quyết các vấn đề trong thị trường Mỹ, một đất nước phát triển. Các bài học, dù chưa hoàn tất, sẽ góp phần giúp người đọc suy nghĩ cặn kẽ hơn và hiệu quả hơn cho thị trường mình đang thuộc về.

Không có nhiều kỹ thuật được mô tả chi tiết tuy nhiên phần phụ lục sẽ rất có ích cho người đọc tìm hiểu thêm sâu hơn. Sẽ rất có ích nếu có bạn đọc chia sẻ vấn đề thiết kế thị trường trong các quốc gia đang phát triển.
24 reviews
December 20, 2018
It's a book recommended by my game theory and mechanism design professor. It's an easy read but I find it less interesting after I've taken the game theory course, likely because of the overlap in theory. I wish it went into more depth in both theory and experiments.
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