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Ties matter: improving efficiency in course allocation by introducing ties

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  • Chen, Ning
  • Li, Mengling

Abstract

We study the course allocation system at Nanyang Technological University, where students submit strict preferences for courses and courses have implicit preferences for students. This formulates a many-to-many matching problem. We show the inefficiencies of the current mechanism and propose new competing mechanisms called Pareto-improving draft and dictatorship mechanisms, which introduce ties into students' preferences. Our mechanisms generate (group) stable and Pareto-efficient allocations, and the dictatorship mechanism can be implemented truthfully. Simulations on real data show that introducing ties into students' preferences can significantly improve efficiency, and the draft mechanism outperforms the dictatorship mechanism despite that the former is non-strategyproof.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 47031.

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Date of creation: 25 Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:47031

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Keywords: matching; many-to-many; Pareto efficiency; stability; strategyproof;

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  1. Ahmet Alkan, 2002. "A class of multipartner matching markets with a strong lattice structure," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 737-746.
  2. Eric Budish & Estelle Cantillon, 2012. "The Multi-unit Assignment Problem: Theory and Evidence from Course Allocation at Harvard," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2237-71, August.
  3. Marilda Sotomayor, 2011. "The pareto-stability concept is a natural solution concept for discrete matching markets with indifferences," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 631-644, August.
  4. Aytek Erdil & Haluk Ergin, 2007. "What`s the Matter with Tie-breaking? Improving Efficiency in School Choice," Economics Series Working Papers 349, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Roth, Alvin E, 1984. "Stability and Polarization of Interests in Job Matching," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 47-57, January.
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