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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. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sonmez, 2006. "Changing the Boston School Choice Mechanism," NBER Working Papers 11965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alcalde, Jose & Barbera, Salvador, 1994. "Top Dominance and the Possibility of Strategy-Proof Stable Solutions to Matching Problems," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 417-35, May.
  3. Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Pathak, Parag Abishek & Roth, Alvin E., 2009. "Strategy-Proofness Versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the NYC High School Match," Scholarly Articles 11077572, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Roth, Alvin E. & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1992. "Two-sided matching," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 485-541 Elsevier.
  6. 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.
  7. Chen, Yan & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2006. "School choice: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 202-231, March.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Ergin, Haluk & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2006. "Games of school choice under the Boston mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 215-237, January.
  11. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 364-367, May.
  12. Balinski, Michel & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "A Tale of Two Mechanisms: Student Placement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-94, January.
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