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Title: Essays in matching and information acquisition
Author: Johnson, Annika
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 7825
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2019
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Consider a housing problem in which each agent arrives at the market with an endowment but is unsure of the value of others' objects and is unwilling to exchange without learning more. An individually rational, Pareto optimal and strategyproof exchange requires Gale's Top Trading Cycles but the ability to investigate others' endowments must also be introduced. For the instance in which each agent has only the resources to learn about one other object, I show how agents' decisions over what to learn about restricts the size of the trading cycles. Large cycles are risky and so no cycle containing more than two agents can exist in equilibrium. I then give the conditions under which stability and ex-ante welfare maximisation are mutually compatible objectives. If objects are 'well ranked' in the sense that the objects of highest value are also more likely to be acceptable, then any profile of agents' learning decisions which is stable is also an ex-ante welfare maximising equilibrium. Introducing a time dimension which allows agents to choose not only what to learn about, but when, does not rule out equilibria in which all agents learn quickly and at the same time. The same learning pattern as observed when agents are forced to make the decision simultaneously, remains an equilibrium when this restriction is removed. Even o?ering the agents the opportunity to learn carefully, one by one, making decisions with the most information they can does not prevent the rush to learn at the same time as others in equilibrium. The information acquisition problem is by no means unique to unilateral matches and so I also consider the particular allocation mechanism used for university entry in the UK. The combination of allowing applications to be submitted to only two institutions and students only being able to acquire information on their grades after submission results in poorly assortative allocations where the best students are unable to attend higher-ranked instiutions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: matching ; information acquisition ; two stage ; top trading cycles