Course Page

Market Design

Course Number:



Onur Kesten,


Undergraduate Economics


B.A. in Economics, B.S. in Economics, B.S. in Economics and Statistics, B.S. in Economics and Mathematical Sciences, Additional Major in Economics, Additional Major in Economics and Statistics, Minor in Economics

Course Description

This class is about how to design mechanisms to allocate scarce resources and how to create successful marketplaces and platforms. Our main tool will be economic theory. In most classes, we'll start with a class of problems and develop a theoretical model that helps us identify what is a “good” solution to the problem, what are the incentive problems that might arise, and whether there are mechanisms or market designs that might lead to a good solution. Then we’ll consider applications where we think about a particular setting and compare what’s done in practice to the theory.
The class divides roughly into three parts: matching, auctions, and, time allowing, marketplaces.    
  • Matching topics may include:  Two-Sided Matching and Medical Residents; House Allocation and Kidney Exchange; School Choice  Law; and Clerks and College Early Admission  
  • Auction/Marketplace topics may include: Designing Optimal Auctions; Common Value Auctions; Multi-Unit Auctions and Treasury Auctions;  Multi-Item Auctions and The Assignment Model;  Sponsored Search Auctions; The FCC and Simultaneous Ascending Auctions;  Package Auctions and Radio Spectrum; Introduction to the Economics of Platforms. 
  • Internet Platforms: e-Commerce; Internet Markets: Advertising    
Minimum grade standard of "C" applies only to economics courses.


Lecture: 160min/wk


Roth and Sotomayor, "Two-Sided Matching: A Study in Game Theoretic Modeling and Analysis", Cambridge University Press, 1992.; V. Krishna, "Auction Theory", Academic Press (2nd Edition), 2009.