Document de travail

Application Costs and Congestion in Matching Markets

Yinghua He et Thierry Magnac


A matching market often requires recruiting agents, or ``programs,'' to costly screen ``applicants,'' and congestion increases with the number of applicants to be screened. We investigate the role of application costs: Higher costs reduce congestion by discouraging applicants from applying to certain programs; however, they may harm match quality. In a multiple-elicitation experiment conducted in a real-life matching market, we implement variants of the Gale-Shapley Deferred-Acceptance mechanism with different application costs. Our experimental and structural estimates show that a (low) application cost effectively reduces congestion without harming match quality.


Gale-Shapley Deferred Acceptance Mechanism; Costly Preference Formation; Screening; Stable Matching; Congestion; Matching Market Design;

Codes JEL

  • C78: Bargaining Theory • Matching Theory
  • D47: Market Design
  • D50: General
  • D61: Allocative Efficiency • Cost–Benefit Analysis
  • I21: Analysis of Education


Yinghua He et Thierry Magnac, « Application Costs and Congestion in Matching Markets », TSE Working Paper, n° 17-870, décembre 2017, révision février 2019.

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Publié dans

TSE Working Paper, n° 17-870, décembre 2017, révision février 2019