The Roommate Problem Is More Stable than You Think

28 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2012 Last revised: 6 Aug 2012

Pierre-Andre Chiappori

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics

Alfred Galichon

NYU, Department of Economics and Courant Institute

Bernard Salanie

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Date Written: August 4, 2012

Abstract

Stable matchings may fail to exist in the roommate matching problem, both when utility is transferable and when it is not. We show that when utility is transferable, the existence of a stable matching is restored when there is an even number of individuals of indistinguishable characteristics and tastes (types). As a consequence, when the number of individuals of any given type is large enough there always exist quasi-stable matchings: a stable matching can be restored with minimal policy intervention. Our results build on an analogy with an associated bipartite problem; it follows that the tools crafted in empirical studies of the marriage problem can easily be adapted to the roommate problem.

Keywords: matching, roommate problem, stability

JEL Classification: C78

Suggested Citation

Chiappori, Pierre-Andre and Galichon, Alfred and Salanie, Bernard, The Roommate Problem Is More Stable than You Think (August 4, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1991460 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1991460

Pierre-Andre Chiappori

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Alfred Galichon (Contact Author)

NYU, Department of Economics and Courant Institute ( email )

269 Mercer Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10011
United States

Bernard Salanie

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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