Who Gets What - And Why: The Hidden World of Matchmaking and Market Design
How our lives are shaped not only by the choices we make, but by the choices we have.
In many parts of life – jobs, housing, medical care, education, even a date on the internet – price is not the only determinant of who gets what. So how do the other processes that influence who gets which goods, jobs, university places and partners really work?
In ‘Who Gets What’, Nobel Prize winning economist Alvin Roth uncovers the global rules of how markets allocate, how matchmaking shapes lives, where markets exist that we may not even realise, and how everything about our biggest experiences – from getting accepted at university or living where we want – can be better understood and negotiated when one understands the design of those matching markets. The distribution of rewards is often unfair, but it’s seldom as random as it seems, and Roth reveals just how much of our life takes place in marketplaces, and leads us to a new understanding of who gets what and why.
For fans of ‘Freakonomics’ and ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ this groundbreaking book sheds new light on the politics of free markets, and how many things that we choose in life also must choose us.
”'Who Gets What is a pleasure to read. It’s also a pleasure to discover that rare species, a humble economist. Humble but useful” - Wall Street Journal
”'In his fluent and accessible book, Roth vividly describes the successes of market design … Roth discusses a huge array of fascinating market designs: from auctions for the sale of radio spectrum to high-frequency trading; from apartment lettings on Airbnb to sorority rushes; from the allocation of prestigious clerkships to the assignment of public-school places. Mr Roth has not managed to improve all of them, and his descriptions of failures are often as illuminating as the success stories” - Economist
”'An exciting practical approach to economics that enables both individuals and institutions to achieve their goals without running afoul of the profit motive” - Kirkus
”'This book’s lessons are practical as well as theoretical. Understanding how matching markets operate can help readers navigate them more effectively. A solid match for readers in general economics and business collections” - Library Journal
”'He's perfectly brilliant and everyone knows it. But Roth is also an articulate and witty scientist with an impish sense of humour who can make even the most complicated idea seem so simple that you wonder why you didn't think of it yourself. Roth's thinking has revolutionised the design of the 'matching systems’” - Daniel Gilbert, author of the best-selling Stumbling on Happiness
”'Al Roth is a brilliantly original thinker, but he has spent his entire career solving real, practical problems. He designs markets, but has thought harder than anyone about the ethics and emotions of the marketplace. What's more, he saves lives. Not in some abstract sense: he has saved the lives of real people, and you can shake their hands, look them in the eye, and hear them tell you how he did it. We need more economists like him” - Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist