We host market design seminars for researchers.

*All times are Japan Standard Time (JST).
*Unless otherwise mentioned, the seminars will be held hybrid; in-person and Zoom online (pre-registration system).
*Presentations are in ENGLISH.
*Please refrain from taking pictures, recording audio and video.
*Please do not reproduce the contents or share the Zoom joining URL with a third party.


Please use the following link for registration.
Registration link
*Registration is required only for the first time. The same meeting URL can be used for this UTMD seminar series.


Future Seminars

[Mar. 15, 2024] Jesse Shapiro (Harvard University)

  • This seminar was held in-person and online.
    venue (in-person): Conference Room on the 2nd floor of the Kojima Hall

Date & Time: 2024/3/15 (Fri) 10:25-11:55

Title: TBA

Abstract: TBA

Past Seminars

[Sep. 25, 2023] Volker Nocke (University of Mannheim)

  • This seminar was held in-person and online.
    venue (in-person): Seminar Room 1 on the 1st floor of the Kojima Hall

Date & Time: 2023/9/25 (Mon) 10:25-11:55

Title: Merger Analysis with IIA Demand and Type Aggregation

We propose a framework for merger analysis with multiproduct firms under gen-eralized CES (GCES) and generalized multinomial logit (GMNL) demand. Despite allowing for arbitrary firm and product heterogeneity, we obtain the type aggregation property: All relevant information about a firm’s product portfolio can be summarized in a uni-dimensional sufficient statistic, the firm’s type. Indeed, GCES and GMNL are shown to be the only IIA demand systems giving rise to that property. Relative to standard CES and MNL demand, our generalization implies that prices, locally, can be strategic complements or substitutes, depending on the local behavior of the curvature of indirect utility. In turn, this distinction is shown to determine whether competition authorities should be more or less strict on mergers in more competitive industries. We obtain further results on the static and dynamic consumer surplus effects of mergers, the aggregate surplus and external effects of mergers, and on the relationship between the market power effect of a merger and the merger-induced change in the Herfindahl index.

[Oct. 2, 2023] Ryota Iijima (Yale University)

  • This seminar was held in-person and online.
    venue (in-person): Seminar Room 1 on the 1st floor of the Kojima Hall

Date & Time: 2023/10/2 (Mon) 10:25-11:55

Title: Monitoring with Rich Data (with Mira Frick and Yuhta Ishii)

We consider moral hazard problems where a principal has access to rich data about an agent’s action. We characterize the optimal rate at which the principal can achieve the first-best payoff as the amount of data grows large. Our results suggest a novel rationale for the widely observed binary-payment contracts, by showing that such simple contracts can achieve the optimal convergence rate. In contrast, contracts that display rich wage variation (e.g., linear contracts) approximate the first-best at a highly suboptimal rate. Our analysis also yields a robust ranking over monitoring technologies that does not require the principal to know the agent’s specific utility function. We discuss how this ranking sheds light on the difference between comparing information structures for incentive provision vs. learning.

[June 30, 2023] Giacomo Lanzani (MIT)

  • This seminar was held in-person and online.
    venue (in-person): Seminar Room 1 on the 1st floor of the Kojima Hall

Date & Time: 2023/6/30 (Fri) 10:30-12:00

Title: Dynamic Concern for Misspecification

Abstract: We consider an agent who posits a set of probabilistic models for the payoff-relevant outcomes. The agent has a prior over this set but fears the actual model is omitted and hedges against this possibility. The concern for misspecification is endogenous: If a model explains the previous observations well, the concern attenuates. We show that different static preferences under uncertainty (subjective expected utility, maxmin, robust control) arise in the long run, depending on how quickly the agent becomes unsatisfied with unexplained evidence and whether they are misspecified. The misspecification concern’s endogeneity naturally induces behavior cycles,  and we characterize the limit action frequency. This model is consistent with the empirical evidence on monetary policy cycles and choices in the face of complex tax schedules. Finally, we axiomatize in terms of observable choices this decision criterion and how quickly the agent adjusts their misspecification concern.

[June 28, 2023] Vijay V. Vazirani (University of California, Irvine) 

Co-hosted by AFSA Seminar

  • This seminar was held in-person and online.
    venue (in-person): Lecture Hall 3 on the 3rd floor of the Economics Research Building

Date & Time: 2023/6/28 (Wed) 15:00-17:00 “a two-hour long talk, with a 10 minute break in the middle”

Speaker: Vijay V. Vazirani is currently Distinguished Professor in the University of California, Irvine.
A good description of his research appears in the Citation of his 2022 INFORMS John von Neumann Theory Prize.
His co-edited book, Online and Matching-Based Market Design, will appear in July 2023.

Title: LP-Duality Theory and the Cores of Games

Abstract: The core is a quintessential solution concept for profit sharing in cooperative game theory, and LP-duality theory has played a central role in its study, right from its early days to the present time. However, despite the extensive nature of this work, basic gaps still remain. This talk will summarize the main ideas contained in two recent papers which attempt to fill these gaps:
Paper 1 explores the use of total unimodularity and complementarity for the assignment game and its generalizations. It also introduces the notions of min-max fair, max-min fair and equitable core imputations.
Paper 2 rectifies the fact that the general graph matching game has an empty core by giving the notion of 2/3-approximate core; once again LP-duality plays a key role.
This talk will be self-contained.

[June 16, 2023] John Kennes (Aarhus University)

  • This seminar was held in-person and online.
    venue (in-person): Seminar Room 1 on the 1st floor of the Kojima Hall

Date & Time: 2023/6/16 (Fri) 13:00-14:30

Title: The Copenhagen Daycare Assignment

Abstract: The Copenhagen survey of parents with newborn children started in 2022 and is continuing. The early driving motivation for this survey was to better understand how parents interact with the rules of daycare assignment in Copenhagen. However, this survey of all Copenhagen parents with newborn children has also been designed to gather information about these parents and about many of their important decisions related to having a new child – for example, the allocation of parental leaves from work. The survey is also intended to be a basis for panel studies of these parents going forward. The goals of the current presentation are to provide information about the rules of daycare assignment in Denmark and other relevant institutional issues and reforms related to the general parenting decisions of parents with newborn children. This presentation contains information about the questions in the survey as well as the summary data on respondent answers. However, since we are presently merging this data with detailed matched register data on Statistics Denmark servers, the presentation does not contain micro-econometric estimates from the survey data – due to gdpr concerns. Nevertheless, the intended micro-econometric tools in relation to this new data and institutional context will be discussed.

[May 18, 2023] Moses Stewart (Harvard University)

  • This seminar was held in-person and online.
    venue (in-person): Seminar Room 3 on the 2nd floor of the Kojima Hall

Date & Time: 2023/5/18 (Thu) 10:45-12:15

Title: A Model of Scientific Communication

Abstract: We propose a positive model of empirical science in which an analyst makes a report to an audience after observing some data. Agents in the audience may differ in their beliefs or objectives, and may therefore update or act differently following a given report. We contrast the proposed model with a classical model of statistics in which the report directly determines the payoff. We identify settings in which the predictions of the proposed model differ from those of the classical model, and seem to better match practice.

[Nov. 21, 2022] Andrzej Baranski (NYU Abu Dhabi)

  • This seminar was held in-person and online.
    venue (in-person): Seminar Room 2 on the 1st floor of the Kojima Hall

Date & Time: 2022/11/21 (Mon) 10:00-11:30

Title: Competing for Proposal Rights: Theory and Experimental Evidence

Abstract: Competition for positions of power is a common practice in most organizations including legislatures, firms, industry standard boards, and academic departments. We study theoretically and experimentally how different voting rules affect the incentives to compete for the right to propose a distribution of benefits via sequential bargaining. Our experimental findings uncover a novel efficiency trade-off absent in theory: While gridlock is stronger under unanimity, majoritarian bargaining elicits higher competition costs. The gridlock effect mildly dominates initially, but with experience, both rules yield equal efficiency levels challenging a longstanding notion on the preeminence of majoritarian rules. The distribution of benefits is affected by the endogeneity of proposal rights contrary to behavioral expectations: Subjects gravitate towards equitable sharing and proposers often do not keep the lion’s share. Our results hold robustly under different bargaining protocols and subject samples.

[May 20, 2022] Di Feng (University of Lausanne (HEC))

Date & Time: 2022/5/20 (Fri) 15:30-17:00

Title: A Characterization of the Coordinate-Wise Top-Trading-Cycles Mechanism for Multiple-Type Housing Markets

Abstract: We consider the generalization of the classical Shapley and Scarf housing market model of trading indivisible objects (houses) (Shapley and Scarf, 1974) to so-called multiple-type housing markets (Moulin, 1995). When preferences are separable, the prominent solution for these markets is the coordinate-wise top-trading-cycles (cTTC) mechanism. We first show that on the subdomain of lexicographic preferences, a mechanism is unanimous (or onto), individually rational, strategy-proof, and non-bossy if and only if it is the cTTC mechanism (Theorem 1). Second, using Theorem 1, we obtain a corresponding characterization on the domain of separable preferences (Theorem 2). Finally, we show that on the domain of strict preferences, there is no mechanism satisfying unanimity (or ontoness), individual rationality, strategy-proofness, and non-bossiness (Theorem 3).Our characterization of the cTTC mechanism constitutes the first characterization of an extension of the prominent top-trading-cycles (TTC) mechanism to multiple-type housing markets.

[Mar. 3, 2022] Morimitsu Kurino (Keio University)

Date & Time: 2022/03/03(Thu) 15:30-17:00

Title: Dual-Organ Markets: Coexistence of Living and Deceased Donors 

Abstract: To overcome the worldwide shortage of deceased-donor organs, the medical community has developed various modalities of transplantation. For dual-organ transplantation, the shortage is serious as the modality requires two donors for a single patient. Lung transplantation, a representative example of dual-organ transplantation, is the only treatment for patients in the final stage of a chronic lung disease. Prior to April 2015, there were only two types of transplantation available: deceased-donor transplants and living-donor transplants. Ergin, Sönmez, and Ünver (2017) have proposed the idea of exchanging donors exclusively for living-donor lung transplantation. The new technology, called hybrid transplantation, is now available as evidenced as Dr. Oto and his team at Okayama University Hospital successfully transplanted a deceased lung and a lobe of live lung to one patient at the same time. As the modality itself reveals the importance of simultaneously operating the deceased- and living-donor markets, we study the market with both deceased- and living-donors. In particular, we point out that the hybrid transplantation opens up a new type of donor exchange. We investigate a mechanism of organizing transplants in terms of efficiency, fairness, and incentive-compatibility.

[Feb. 21, 2022] Ayumi Igarashi (National Institute of Informatics)

Date & Time: 2022/2/21(Mon) 10:25am-12:10

Title: Envy-free division of multi-layered cakes

Abstract: We study the problem of dividing a multi-layered cake among heterogeneous agents under non-overlapping constraints. This problem, recently proposed by Hosseini et al. (2020), captures several natural scenarios such as the allocation of multiple facilities over time where each agent can utilize at most one facility simultaneously, and the allocation of tasks over time where each agent can perform at most one task simultaneously. We establish the existence of an envy-free multi-division that is both non-overlapping and contiguous within each layered cake when the number n of agents is a prime power and the number m of layers is at most n, thus providing a positive partial answer to a recent open question. To achieve this, we employ a new approach based on a general fixed point theorem, originally proven by Volovikov (1996), and recently applied by Jojić, Panina, and Živaljević (2020) to the envy-free division problem of a cake. We further show that for a two-layered cake division among three agents with monotone preferences, an ε-approximate envy-free solution that is both non-overlapping and contiguous can be computed in logarithmic time of 1/ε.

[Feb. 17, 2022] Rakesh Vohra (University of Pennsylvania)

Date & Time: 2022/2/17(Thu) 9:00-10:45am

Title: ∆-Substitute Preferences and Equilibria with Indivisibilities

Abstract: An obstacle to the use of market mechanisms to allocate indivisible goods is the non-existence of competitive equilibria (CE). To surmount this Arrow and Hahn  proposed the notion of   social-approximate equilibria: a price vector and corresponding excess demands that are `small’. We identify social approximate equilibria where the excess demand, good-by-good, is bounded by a parameter Δ that depends on preferences only and  not the size of the economy.  The parameter Δ measures the degree of departure from substitute preferences. As a special case, we identify a class called geometric substitutes, that guarantees the existence of competitive equilibria in non-quasi-linear settings.  It strictly generalizes prior conditions such as single improvement, no complementarities, gross substitutes and net substitutes. This is joint work with Thanh Nguyen.

[Jan. 13, 2022] Wolfgang Pesendorfer (Princeton University)

Date & Time: 2022/1/13(Thu) 9:00-10:30am

Title: Lindahl equilibrium as a collective choice rule

Abstract: A collective choice problem is a finite set of social alternatives and a finite set of economic agents with vNM utility functions. We associate a public goods economy with each collective choice problem and establish the existence and efficiency of (equal income) Lindahl equilibrium allocations. We interpret collective choice problems as cooperative bargaining problems and define a set-valued solution concept, the equitable solution (ES). We provide axioms that characterize ES and show that ES contains the Nash bargaining solution. Our main result shows that the set of ES payoffs is the same a the set of Lindahl equilibrium payoffs. We consider two applications: in the first, we show that in a large class of matching problems without transfers the set of Lindahl equilibrium payoffs is the same as the set of (equal income) Walrasian equilibrium payoffs. In our second application, we show that in any discrete exchange economy without transfers every Walrasian equilibrium payoff is a Lindahl equilibrium payoff of the corresponding collective choice market. Moreover, for any cooperative bargaining problem, it is possible to define a set of commodities so that the resulting economy’s utility possibility set is that bargaining problem and the resulting economy’s set of Walrasian equilibrium payoffs is the same as the set of Lindahl equilibrium payoffs of the corresponding collective choice market.

[Dec. 23, 2021] Zhen Lian (Cornell University)

Date & Time: 2021/12/23(Thu) 9:00-10:30am

Title: Autonomous Vehicle Market Design

Abstract: We develop an economic model of autonomous vehicle (AV) ride-hailing markets in which uncertain aggregate demand is served with a combination of a fixed fleet of AVs and an unlimited potential supply of human drivers (HVs). We analyze market outcomes under two dispatch platform designs (common platform vs. independent platforms) and two levels of AV competition (monopoly AV vs. competitive AV). A key result of our analysis is that the lower cost of AVs does not necessarily translate into lower prices; the price impact of AVs is ambiguous and depends critically on both the dispatch platform design and the level of competition. In the extreme case, we show if AVs and HVs operate on independent dispatch platforms and there is a monopoly AVs supplier, then prices are even higher than they are in a pure HV market. When AVs are introduced on a common dispatch platform, we show that whether the equilibrium price is reduced depends on the level of AV competition. If AVs are owned by a monopoly firm, then the equilibrium price is the same as in a pure HV market. In fact, the only market design that leads to unambiguously lower prices in all demand scenarios is when AVs and HVs operate on a common dispatch platform and the AV supply is competitive. Our results illustrate the critical role market design and competition plays in realizing potential welfare gains from AVs.

[Dec. 9, 2021] Jeremy Fox (Rice University)

Date & Time: 2021/12/9(Thu) 9:00-10:30am

Title: Measuring the Welfare Gains from Cardinal-Preference Pseudomarkets in School Choice

Abstract: We compare cardinal-preference and ordinal-preference mechanisms for assignment problems such as school choice, with a focus on a variant of the pseudomarket mechanism of Hylland and Zeckhauser (1979). We introduce and theoretically analyze a variant of the pseudomarket mechanism that has an equilibrium selection rule. We also introduce a computer algorithm to compute the implied stochastic assignment. We estimate cardinal preferences over schools using data on student submissions of rank ordered lists of schools in Seattle. Using these estimated preferences, we measure the welfare gains from using the pseudomarket mechanism instead of the ordinally-efficient probabilistic serial mechanism.

[Dec. 2, 2021] Aytek Erdil (University of Cambridge)

Date & Time: 2021/12/2(Thu) 17:00-18:30

Title: Widening Access with Smart Targets

Abstract: In the UK, universities advertise the degree majors (courses) they offer, and over 700,000 students apply directly to their chosen courses out of over 30,000 courses available. For each of their courses, universities have a target number of students to admit. Some universities also have a target number of disadvantaged students to admit in each course. Depending on student demand, each university adjusts these course-level targets over a long admissions calendar, and makes offers with the aim of fulfilling its aggregate (i.e., university-level) targets. We show that it is possible to reorganise this market with a centralised system which maintains universities’ flexibility to optimally adjust their targets. We design a strategy-proof mechanism that finds a stable matching in a market where students pursue their most preferred courses and universities aim to meet their targets with the best applicants possible.