The Surprising Science of Match-Making

Al Roth on Good Life Project RadioWant a job at Google, a gorgeous hideaway on Airbnb, a spot on the Stanford faculty, a romantic partner or even a kidney?

Good news, bad news. You have a say, but so do they.

It’s all part of a phenomenon called “matching markets.”

Markets are what make businesses possible. But not all markets operate on the exchange of cash for goods. In fact, some of the most important markets go so far as to outlaw cash. In other markets, like romance, many societies just find cash morally repugnant. And, no matter how much you may want something, there’s another person who’ll have a say in whether you get it.

matchingmarketsWhen you understand these often complex and hidden markets, the nuanced rules and games that get played, you end up in a better place to both get what you need from them and give more effectively to those you seek to serve.

That’s what we’re talking about in this week’s conversation with Nobel Prize-winning economist, Stanford professor and author of the fascinating new book, Who Gets What – and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market DesignAl Roth.

This discussion pulls back the curtain on why we are willing to do so much, for one thing, person or opportunity and yet so little for another and how that is redefining our options, how they are presented, and how much control we really have over any of it.

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