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Unraveling yields inefficient matchings: evidence from post-season college football bowls

Authors


  • We thank Jo LaVerde of Nielsen Media Research for providing us Nielsen's rating data and Kenneth Massey for directing us to information about college football rankings. We have had helpful conversations on this subject with Dave DeJong and Muriel Niederle. We also thank the editor and two referees for helpful comments. Fréchette gratefully acknowledges the support of the NSF via grant SES-0519045 as well as support from the Center for Experimental Social Science and the C.V. Starr Center. Roth gratefully acknowledges the support of the NSF via grant SES-0616470. Ünver gratefully acknowledges the support of the NSF via grant SES-0616689.

Abstract

Many markets have “unraveled” and experienced inefficient, early, dispersed transactions, and subsequently developed institutions to delay transaction timing. It has previously proved difficult, however, to measure and identify the resulting efficiency gains. Prior to 1992, college football teams were matched for post-season play up to several weeks before the end of the regular season. Since 1992, the market has reorganized to postpone this matching. We show that the matching of teams affects efficiency as measured by the resulting television viewership, and that the reorganization promoted more efficient matching, chiefly as a result of the increased ability of later matching to produce “championship” games.

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