Erling Skancke
Job Market Candidate

Stanford University
Department of Economics
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305

Curriculum Vitae

Market Design, Behavioral and Experimental Economics

Expected Graduation Date:
June, 2022

Thesis Committee:
Alvin Roth (Primary):

Douglas Bernheim

Muriel Niederle:


Equilibrium Inefficiency in Matching Markets with Interviews (Job Market Paper)
Recent debate in the medical literature has brought attention to issues with the pre-match interview process for residency and fellowship positions at hospitals. However, very little is known about the economics governing this decentralized process. In this paper, I build a game-theoretic model in which hospitals conduct costly interviews in order to learn their preferences over doctors. I show that increased interview activity by any hospital imposes an unambiguous negative welfare externality on all other hospitals, leading to equilibria that are generally inefficient. Surprisingly, both hospitals and doctors may be better off by a coordinated reduction in interview activity. The strategic externality is more subtle, and conditions are derived under which the game exhibits either strategic complementarities or substitutes. Moreover, an increase in market size may exacerbate the inefficiencies of the interview process, preventing agents from reaping the thick market benefits that would arise in the absence of the costly interviews. This effect increases participants' incentives to match outside of the centralized clearinghouse as markets become thicker, jeopardizing the long-term viability of the clearinghouse. The model also provides new insights into several market design interventions that have recently been proposed.

Explaining a Potential Interview Match for Graduate Medical Education (with I. Wapnir, I. Ashlagi, A.E. Roth, A. Vohra, and M.L. Melcher, Forthcoming in Journal of Graduate Medical Education)
Fellowship and residency candidates are applying to more programs to enhance their chances of securing interviews and matching favorably. While a candidate's application to a training program communicates some interest in the program, the relative amount of interest is obscured when candidates apply to large numbers of programs. As a result, we suspect that programs host large numbers of low-yield interviews. The number of interviews is steadily increasing and there is widespread agreement on the need to ease congestion in the pre-Match process. We propose an Interview Match (IM) to address the expanding number of interviews. An IM enables candidates and programs to express preferences privately through (tiered) rank-order lists. This may ease congestion in the "marketplace," reduce costs for candidates, and favor interviews that are more likely to lead to a match in the final Match. In this Perspective, we present two simplified scenarios to illustrate the potential to minimize low-yield interviews and some of the challenges to be considered when implementing an IM. We briefly discuss the advantages of an IM over other proposals.

On Ordinal Interview Assignment Mechanisms
In many labour markets firms and workers spend significant resources conducting interviews. In recent years, in the markets for residency and fellowship positions at hospitals in the US, many market participants have expressed discontent with the process through which interviews are determined. To address these concerns, several authors have proposed the use of a centralized mechanism for assigning interviews, usually based on ordinal information elicited about participants' preferences. However, very little is known about the properties of such mechanisms. In this paper, I prove that no stable ordinal interview assignment mechanism is strategy-proof for either side of the market, unless agents on both sides of the market are restricted to conduct one interview each. I show that this result is closely related to the concept of overlap introduced by Lee and Schwarz (2017), a phenomenon which has exclusively been analyzed in the context where the number of firms/positions equals the number of workers. Through simulations, I show that the issue of overlap is much less pronounced for even slight imbalances in the market structure, implying that stable ordinal interview assignments are ikely to ensure a high match rate as long as the market is not perfectly balanced.

A Decade of Signaling at the AEA, What have we learned? with M. Niederle and A. E. Roth

Work in Progress

Green Grass or Sour Grapes? An Experiment on Chosen Preferences with B. D. Bernheim and G. Charness

Welfare Economics with Endogenous Preferences with B. D. Bernheim and L. Nagel

Experience and the Skin-in-the-Game Effect with D. Zuckerman