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Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off: An Empirical Study of Centralized University Admissions in Germany

  • Braun Sebastian

    ()

    (Kiel Institute for the World Economy and Humboldt University of Berlin)

  • Dwenger Nadja

    ()

    (Max-Planck-Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition, and Tax Law, Munich, and DIW Berlin)

  • Kübler Dorothea

    ()

    (Technical University Berlin and Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB))

Matching university places to students is not as clear cut or as straightforward as it ought to be. By investigating the matching algorithm used by the German central clearinghouse for university admissions in medicine and related subjects, we show that a procedure designed to give an advantage to students with excellent school grades actually harms them. The reason is that the three-step process employed by the clearinghouse is a complicated mechanism in which many students fail to grasp the strategic aspects involved. The mechanism is based on quotas and consists of three procedures that are administered sequentially, one for each quota. Using the complete data set of the central clearinghouse, we show that the matching can be improved for around 20% of the excellent students while making a relatively small percentage of all other students worse off.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 10 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-38

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:22
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  1. Alcalde, J. & Barberà, S., 1992. "Top Dominance and the Possibility of Strategy-Proof Stable Solutions to Matching Problems," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 196.92, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  2. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez, 2006. "Changing the Boston School Choice Mechanism," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 639, Boston College Department of Economics.
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  6. Roth, Alvin E, 1991. "A Natural Experiment in the Organization of Entry-Level Labor Markets: Regional Markets for New Physicians and Surgeons in the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 415-40, June.
  7. Balinski, Michel & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "A Tale of Two Mechanisms: Student Placement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-94, January.
  8. Roth, Alvin E., 1985. "The college admissions problem is not equivalent to the marriage problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 277-288, August.
  9. Roth,Alvin E. & Sotomayor,Marilda A. Oliveira, 1992. "Two-Sided Matching," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521437882, june. pag.
  10. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2009. "Strategy-proofness versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the New York City High School Match," NBER Working Papers 14864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Yan Chen & Tayfun Sönmez, 2004. "School Choice: An Experimental Study," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 622, Boston College Department of Economics.
  12. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2009. "The Effects of a Centralized Clearinghouse on Job Placement, Wages, and Hiring Practices," NBER Chapters, in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 235-271 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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