Decentralized matching markets with(out) frictions: a laboratory experiment

  • Joana Pais
  • Ágnes Pintér
  • Róbert F. VesztegEmail author
Original Paper


In a series of laboratory experiments, we explore the impact of different market features (the level of information, search costs, and the level of commitment) on agents’ behavior and on the outcome of decentralized matching markets. In our experiments, subjects on each side of the market actively search for a partner, make proposals, and are free to accept or reject any proposal received at any time throughout the game. Our results suggest that a low information level does not affect the stability or the efficiency of the final outcome, although it boosts market activity, unless coupled with search costs. Search costs have a significant negative impact on stability and on market activity. Finally, commitment harms stability slightly but acts as a disciplinary device to market activity and is associated with higher efficiency levels of the final outcome.


Decentralized markets Two-sided matching Stability Efficiency Laboratory experiments 

JEL Classification

C78 C91 D82 



We are thankful to the editor and two anonymous referees for comments and excellent suggestions. Joana Pais gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia under project reference no. PTDC/IIM-ECO/4546/2014. Ágnes Pintér gratefully acknowledges financial support from the project SEJ2007-67135 and the Juan de la Cierva program of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Supplementary material

10683_2019_9606_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (272 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 272 KB)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISEG, UECE (Research Unit in Complexity in Economics) and REM (Research in Economics and Mathematics)Universidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Economic AnalysisUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.School of Political Science and EconomicsWaseda UniversityTokyoJapan

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