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Strategy-proofness and stability of the Boston mechanism: An almost impossibility result

  • Kumano, Taro
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    Public school systems generally use one of the three competing mechanisms – the Boston mechanism, the deferred acceptance mechanism and the top trading cycle mechanism – for assigning students to specific schools. Although the literature generally claims that the Boston mechanism is Pareto efficient but neither stable nor strategy-proof, this study delineates a subset of school priority structures for which it fulfills all three criteria. We show that the Boston mechanism is stable if and only if it is strategy-proof if and only if the priority structure is strongly acyclic. However, we find that the condition of strong acyclicity is nearly impossible to satisfy: any priority structure is quasi-cyclic whenever there are two schools whose admission quotas are less than the number of students seeking admission.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272713001242
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

    Volume (Year): 105 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 23-29

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:105:y:2013:i:c:p:23-29
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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    1. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Smez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," Discussion Papers 0203-18, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
    2. Sönmez, Tayfun & Pathak, Parag A. & Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," Scholarly Articles 2562764, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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    5. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Yeon-Koo Che & Yosuke Yasuda, 2011. "Resolving Conflicting Preferences in School Choice: The "Boston Mechanism" Reconsidered," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 399-410, February.
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    7. Haluk I. Ergin, 2002. "Efficient Resource Allocation on the Basis of Priorities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2489-2497, November.
    8. Haeringer, Guillaume & Klijn, Flip, 2009. "Constrained school choice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(5), pages 1921-1947, September.
    9. John William Hatfield & Fuhito Kojima & Yusuke Narita, 2011. "Promoting School Competition Through School Choice: A Market Design Approach," Working Papers 2011-018, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
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