The Revealed Preference Theory of Stable and Extremal Stable Matchings



We investigate the testable implications of the theory of stable matchings. We provide a characterization of the matchings that are rationalizable as stable matchings when agents' preferences are unobserved. The characterization is a simple nonparametric test for stability, in the tradition of revealed preference tests. We also characterize the observed stable matchings when monetary transfers are allowed and the stable matchings that are best for one side of the market: extremal stable matchings. We find that the theory of extremal stable matchings is observationally equivalent to requiring that there be a unique stable matching or that the matching be consistent with unrestricted monetary transfers.