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Implementing quotas in university admissions: An experimental analysis

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

Abstract

This paper studies the implementation of quotas in matching markets. In a controlled laboratory environment, we compare the performance of two university admissions procedures that both initially reserve a significant fraction of seats at each university for a special subgroup of students. The first mechanism mimics the sequential procedure currently used by the central clearinghouse for university admissions in Germany. This procedure starts by allocating reserved seats among eligible students and then allocates all remaining seats among those who were not already assigned one of the reserved seats in the first part of the procedure. The second mechanism is based on a modified student-proposing deferred acceptance algorithm in which all seats are allocated simultaneously. In theory, the two mechanisms should lead to similar outcomes. Our experimental results, however, suggest that, relative to the sequential procedure, the simultaneous mechanism significantly improves the match outcomes for the beneficiaries of reserved seats.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:85:y:2014:i:c:p:232-251
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2014.02.004
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    Cited by:

    1. Ran I. Shorrer & Sandor Sovago, 2017. "Obvious Mistakes in a Strategically Simple College Admissions Environment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-107/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Pablo Guillen & Rustamdjan Hakimov, 2017. "Not quite the best response: truth-telling, strategy-proof matching, and the manipulation of others," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(3), pages 670-686, September.
    3. Grenet, Julien & He, Yinghua & Kübler, Dorothea, 2019. "Decentralizing centralized matching markets: Implications from early offers in university admissions," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2019-208, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    4. Rees-Jones, Alex, 2018. "Suboptimal behavior in strategy-proof mechanisms: Evidence from the residency match," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 317-330.
    5. Guillen, Pablo & Hakimov, Rustamdjan, 2018. "The effectiveness of top-down advice in strategy-proof mechanisms: A field experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 505-511.
    6. Guillen, Pablo & Hing, Alexander, 2014. "Lying through their teeth: Third party advice and truth telling in a strategy proof mechanism," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 178-185.
    7. Yoan Hermstrüwer, 2019. "Transparency and Fairness in School Choice Mechanisms," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2019_11, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    8. Ju, Yan & Lin, Deguang & Wang, Dazhong, 2018. "Affirmative action in school choice: A new solution," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 1-9.
    9. Chen, Yan & Kesten, Onur, 2019. "Chinese college admissions and school choice reforms: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 83-100.
    10. Committee, Nobel Prize, 2012. "Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley: Stable allocations and the practice of market design," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2012-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
    11. Ding, Tingting & Schotter, Andrew, 2017. "Matching and chatting: An experimental study of the impact of network communication on school-matching mechanisms," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 94-115.
    12. 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.
    13. 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, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    College admissions; Experiment; Quotas; Gale–Shapley mechanism; Boston mechanism;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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