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Implementing quotas in university admissions: An experimental analysis

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  • Sebastian Braun
  • Nadja Dwenger
  • Dorothea Kübler
  • Alexander Westkamp

Abstract

Quotas for special groups of students often apply in school or university admission procedures. This paper studies the performance of two mechanisms to implement such quotas in a lab experiment. The first mechanism is a simplified version of the mechanism currently employed by the German central clearinghouse for university admissions, which first allocates seats in the quota for top-grade students before allocating all other seats among remaining applicants. The second is a modi ed version of the student-proposing deferred acceptance (SDA) algorithm, which simultaneously allocates seats in all quotas. Our main result is that the current procedure, designed to give top-grade students an advantage, actually harms them, as students often fail to grasp the strategic issues involved. The modified SDA algorithm significantly improves the matching for top-grade students and could thus be a valuable tool for redesigning university admissions in Germany.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2012-005.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2012-005

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Keywords: College admissions; experiment; quotas; matching; Gale-Shapley mechanism; Boston mechanism;

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References

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  1. Joana Pais & Ágnes Pintér & Róbert F. Veszteg, 2011. "College Admissions And The Role Of Information: An Experimental Study," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(3), pages 713-737, 08.
  2. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2011. "School Admissions Reform in Chicago and England: Comparing Mechanisms by Their Vulnerability to Manipulation," NBER Working Papers 16783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Caterina Calsamiglia & Guillaume Haeringer & Flip Klijn, 2010. "Constrained School Choice: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1860-74, September.
  4. Pais, Joana & Pintér, Ágnes, 2008. "School choice and information: An experimental study on matching mechanisms," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 303-328, September.
  5. Roth, Alvin E, 1984. "The Evolution of the Labor Market for Medical Interns and Residents: A Case Study in Game Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 991-1016, December.
  6. Sebastian Braun & Nadja Dwenger & Dorothea Kübler, 2007. "Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 759, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  7. Sebastian Braun & Nadja Dwenger & Dorothea Kübler, 2007. "Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off: An Empirical Study of Centralised University Admissions in Germany," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2007-070, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  8. Yan Chen & Tayfun Sönmez, 2004. "School Choice: An Experimental Study," Boston College Working Papers in Economics, Boston College Department of Economics 622, Boston College Department of Economics.
  9. Fuhito Kojima & Parag A. Pathak, 2009. "Incentives and Stability in Large Two-Sided Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 608-27, June.
  10. Atila AbdulkadiroÄŸlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 364-367, May.
  11. Alistair Wilson & Federico Echenique & Leeat Yariv, 2009. "Clearinghouses for Two-Sided Matching: An Experimental Study," Working Papers, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics 487, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2013.
  12. Yuichiro Kamada & Fuhito Kojima, 2010. "Efficiency in Matching Markets with Regional Caps: The Case of the Japan Residency Matching Program," Discussion Papers, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research 10-011, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  13. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
  14. John H. Kagel & Alvin E. Roth, 2000. "The Dynamics Of Reorganization In Matching Markets: A Laboratory Experiment Motivated By A Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 201-235, February.
  15. EHLERS, Lars, 2010. "School Choice with Control," Cahiers de recherche, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ 13-2010, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  16. Shapley, Lloyd & Scarf, Herbert, 1974. "On cores and indivisibility," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 23-37, March.
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  18. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Committee, Nobel Prize, 2012. "Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley: Stable allocations and the practice of market design," Nobel Prize in Economics documents, Nobel Prize Committee 2012-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  2. Guillen, Pablo & Hakimov, Rustamdjan, 2014. "Monkey see, monkey do: Truth-telling in matching algorithms and the manipulation of others," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2014-202, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  3. Goto, Masahiro & Iwasaki, Atsushi & Kawasaki, Yujiro & Yasuda, Yosuke & Yokoo, Makoto, 2014. "Improving Fairness and Efficiency in Matching with Distributional Constraints: An Alternative Solution for the Japanese Medical Residency Match," MPRA Paper 53409, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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