The Match: The Movie

Over the past week, subscribers to the Sheriff of Sodium YouTube channel have been treated to a sprawling and expansive six-part video series on the Match – including the long-awaited Part 6, which tackles the on the question of whether we’d be better off without a match.

Did you miss out? Don’t worry – links to all the videos are here.

Part 1: Why do we have a Match?

Why is getting a residency job so different than getting most any other job? Here, I cover the history of residency training and the events the led to the proposal for the first match.

Part 2: The battle for the algorithm

Using a central clearinghouse to pair up applicants and programs is a great idea in theory. But in practice, it’s not so easy. How do you make optimal pairings when participants’ desires conflict? This is the story of the first matching algorithm – and how medical students successfully fought for a better one.

Part 3: On marriages and matching

In 1979, a medical student realized that the NRMP’s algorithm prioritized the preferences of programs over those of students. This is the story of his decades-long battle to change to a student-optimal algorithm.

Part 4: Unraveling and going all in

Matching markets have a weakness – if too many deals are struck outside the market, the matching process unravels. This is the story of how – and why – the NRMP addressed this vulnerability in their market.

Part 5: The lawsuit

In 2002, a group of resident physicians filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., alleging a broad conspiracy among medicine’s governing bodies to keep resident salaries low and work hours high. The Match was on trial.

Part 6: Would we be better off without a Match?

In the final episode, it’s time to take on the big question: do we need a Match? Would we be better off without one?

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