Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Judd B. Kessler
I present two experiments exploring failures in matching markets.
In the first experiment, I introduce a new experimental paradigm to evaluate employer preferences, called Incentivized Resume Rating (IRR). Employers evaluate resumes they know to be hypothetical in order to be matched with real job seekers, preserving incentives while avoiding the deception necessary in audit studies. I deploy IRR with employers recruiting college seniors from a prestigious school, randomizing human capital characteristics and demographics of hypothetical candidates. I measure both employer preferences for candidates and employer beliefs about the likelihood candidates will accept job offers, avoiding a typical confound in audit studies. I discuss the costs, benefits, and future applications of this new methodology.
In the second experiment, I examine out-of-equilibrium truth-telling in strategic matching markets. In two-sided settings, market designers tend to advocate for deferred acceptance (DA) over priority mechanisms, even though theory tells us that both types of mechanisms can yield unstable matches in incomplete information equilibrium. However, if match participants on the proposed-to side deviate from equilibrium by truth-telling, then DA yields stable outcomes. In a novel experimental setting, I find out-of-equilibrium truth-telling under DA but not under a priority mechanism, which could help to explain the success of DA in preventing unraveling in the field. I then attempt to explain the difference in behavior across mechanisms by estimating an experience-weighted learning model adapted to this complex strategic environment. I find that initial cognition and willingness to explore new strategies drive the difference in agents' ability to find strategic equilibria.
Sullivan, Colin D., "Essays In Matching Markets" (2019). Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 3336.