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

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  • 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))

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Braun Sebastian & Dwenger Nadja & Kübler Dorothea, 2010. "Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off: An Empirical Study of Centralized University Admissions in Germany," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-38, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:22
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Westkamp, 2013. "An analysis of the German university admissions system," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 53(3), pages 561-589, August.
    2. Horstschräer, Julia, 2012. "University rankings in action? The importance of rankings and an excellence competition for university choice of high-ability students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1162-1176.
    3. Kóczy Á., László, 2010. "A magyarországi felvételi rendszerek sajátosságai
      [Specific features of Hungarys system of school and university admissions]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(2), pages 142-164.
    4. Braun, Sebastian & Dwenger, Nadja & Kübler, Dorothea & Westkamp, Alexander, 2012. "Implementing quotas in university admissions: An experimental investigation," Kiel Working Papers 1761, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. Klijn, Flip & Pais, Joana & Vorsatz, Marc, 2016. "Affirmative action through minority reserves: An experimental study on school choice," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 72-75.
    6. Megalokonomou, Rigissa & Goulas, Sofoklis, 2016. "Which degrees do students prefer during recessions?," MPRA Paper 75355, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Braun, Sebastian & Dwenger, Nadja & Kübler, Dorothea & Westkamp, Alexander, 2014. "Implementing quotas in university admissions: An experimental analysis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 232-251.
    8. Gudmundsson , Jens, 2014. "Sequences in Pairing Problems: A New Approach to Reconcile Stability with Strategy-Proofness for Elementary Matching Problems," Working Papers 2014:40, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    9. Dwenger, Nadja & Kübler, Dorothea & Weizsäcker, Georg, 2014. "Flipping a coin: Theory and evidence," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-201r, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    10. Horstschräer, Julia, 2012. "Decentralizing university admission: Evidence from a natural experiment," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-076, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    11. He, Yinghua, 2012. "Gaming the Boston School Choice Mechanism in Beijing," TSE Working Papers 12-345, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    12. Kóczy Á., László, 2009. "Központi felvételi rendszerek. Taktikázás és stabilitás
      [Central admission systems. Stratagems and stability]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(5), pages 422-442.
    13. Nadja Dwenger & Dorothea Kübler & Georg Weizsäcker, 2013. "Preference for Randomization: Empirical and Experimental Evidence," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2013-004, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    14. Mira Fischer & Patrick Kampkoetter, 2014. "Effects of the German Universities' Excellence Initiative on Ability Sorting of Students and Perceptions of Educational Quality," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 05-01, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences, revised 25 Jun 2016.
    15. Franz Diebold & Haris Aziz & Martin Bichler & Florian Matthes & Alexander Schneider, 2014. "Course Allocation via Stable Matching," Business & Information Systems Engineering: The International Journal of WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK, Springer;Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), vol. 6(2), pages 97-110, April.
    16. Péter Biró & Sofya Kiselgof, 2015. "College admissions with stable score-limits," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 23(4), pages 727-741, December.
    17. Frank Hüber & Dorothea Kübler, 2011. "Hochschulzulassungen in Deutschland: Wem hilft die Reform durch das „Dialogorientierte Serviceverfahren“?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(4), pages 430-444, November.
    18. Sissa Carlsson & Stephan Thomsen, 2014. "Nicht ausgeschöpfte Potenziale in der Kita-Platzvergabe," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 83(1), pages 183-198.
    19. Zhang, Juheng & Aytug, Haldun, 2016. "Comparison of imputation methods for discriminant analysis with strategically hidden data," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 255(2), pages 522-530.
    20. Janine Balter & Michela Rancan & Olena Senyuta, 2014. "Truncation in the Matching Markets and Market Ineffciency," RSCAS Working Papers 2014/04, European University Institute.
    21. Dwenger, Nadja & Storck, Johanna & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2012. "Do tuition fees affect the mobility of university applicants? Evidence from a natural experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 155-167.
    22. Hüber, Frank, 2011. "Manipulationsanreize im Gale-Shapley-Algorithmus: Ein Literaturüberblick," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2011-203, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    23. Sebastian Braun & Nadja Dwenger, 2008. "Success in the University Admission Process in Germany: Regional Provenance Matters," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 789, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    24. Ulrich Kamecke, 2014. "Inefficient School Choice in a Long-Run Urban Equilibrium," CESifo Working Paper Series 4969, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other

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