Distance on matchings: an axiomatic approach

Burak Can*, M. Pourpouneh, Ton Storcken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Matchings in a market may have varying degrees of compromise from efficiency, fairness, and or stability. A distance function allows to quantify such concepts or the (dis)similarity between any two matchings. There are a few attempts to propose such functions; however, these are tailored for specific applications and ignore the individual preferences completely. In this paper, we construct a normative framework to quantify the difference between outcomes of market mechanisms in matching markets, while endogenizing the preferences of the individuals into the distance concept. Several conditions are introduced to capture natural and appealing behavior of such functions. We find a class of distance functions called scaled Borda distances, which is the only class of distance functions that satisfies these conditions simultaneously.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-632
JournalTheoretical Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2023

JEL classifications

  • c00 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods: General
  • c78 - "Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory"
  • d61 - "Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis"
  • d63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


  • matching markets
  • distance function
  • metrics

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