A Field Study of Matching with Network Externalities
M.Baccara, A. Imrohoroglu, A.Wilson, and L.Yariv
We study the effects of network externalities on a unique matching protocol for faculty in a large U.S. professional school to offices in a new building. We collected institutional, web, and survey data on faculty's attributes and choices. We first identify the different layers of the social network: institutional affiliation, coauthorships, and friendships. We demonstrate and quantify the effects of network externalities on choices and outcomes. Furthermore, we disentangle the different layers of the social network and quantify their relative impact. Finally, we assess the matching protocol from a welfare perspective. Our study suggests the importance and feasibility of accounting for network externalities in general assignment problems and evaluates a set of techniques that can be employed to this end.