International Journal of Game Theory

, Volume 36, Issue 3–4, pp 409–420 | Cite as

Instability of matchings in decentralized markets with various preference structures

  • Kimmo ErikssonEmail author
  • Olle Häggström
Original Paper


In any two-sided matching market, a stable matching can be found by a central agency using the deferred acceptance procedure of Gale and Shapley. But if the market is decentralized and information is incomplete then stability of the ensuing matching is not to be expected. Despite the prevalence of such matching situations, and the importance of stability, little theory exists concerning instability. We discuss various measures of instability and analyze how they interact with the structure of the underlying preferences. Our main result is that even the outcome of decentralized matching with incomplete information can be expected to be “almost stable” under reasonable assumptions.


Stable matching Blocking pair Instability Preference structure Decentralized market Maximin matching 


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Copyright information

© Springer Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mälardalen University, IMAVästeråsSweden
  2. 2.Chalmers University of TechnologyGoteborgSweden

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