Sunday, December 23, 2012

Signaling and Dating

Al Roth has received his Nobel prize for "the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design". The methods discussed in the announcement have been used in markets for medical professionals, to allocate students to schools and kidney exchange. However, already in early interviews, Al talked about how matching deals with the most important decisions of one's life, including, finding a spouse. Clearly this has attracted lots of attention, as it captures the imagination of everyone, or, as swedisch TV reporter Bengt Norborg said, "everyone can relate to it".

So, dating and signaling, and as such my theory work (see Coles, Peter, Alexey Kushnir and Muriel Niederle, “Preference Signaling in Matching Markets”, American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, forthcoming) and the applications of signaling on the economics job market (see Peter Coles, John Cawley, Phillip B. Levine, Muriel Niederle, Alvin E. Roth, and John J. Siegfried, “The Job Market for New Economists: A Market Design Perspective,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2010) and on online dating (see Lee, Soohyung and Muriel Niederle, “Propose with a Rose? Signaling in Internet Dating Markets,” November 2011) received lots of attention.

For example, see around min 10:50 - 13:40 of Al Roth's Nobel interview at

or at Al's lecture at around min 36:40

or the TV feature on Swedish TV at

While signaling is a great topic, and has been in the news a lot lately (it'll be in the news again in the Spring, when parents are deciding which of the colleges among the ones their children applied they want to visit) there are still many open questions.

For recent news (HT Scott Kominers) see the WSJ article: "Facebook Tests Charging $1 to Send Some Messages"

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