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On two kinds of manipulation for school choice problems

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  • Onur Kesten

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Abstract

Many school districts in the US. employ centralized clearing houses to assign students to public schools. An important potential threat against any school choice mechanism is the tendency of schools to circumvent the procedure via two kinds of strategic manipulation: manipulation via capacities and manipulation via pre-arranged matches. This paper studies the extent of the vulnerability of three prominent school choice mechanisms that have been adopted (or, considered for adoption) by some school districts in the US. We find that the highly debated Boston mechanism as well as the top trading cycles mechanism are immune to manipulation via capacities, unlike the student-optimal stable mechanism (SOSM). We show that SOSM is immune to manipulation via capacities if and only if the priority structure satisfies an acyclicity condition proposed by Ergin (Econometrica 70:2489–2497, 2002 ). On the other hand, we show that essentially no mechanism is immune to manipulation via pre-arranged matches. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Onur Kesten, 2012. "On two kinds of manipulation for school choice problems," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 51(3), pages 677-693, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:51:y:2012:i:3:p:677-693 DOI: 10.1007/s00199-011-0618-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 364-367.
    2. Ergin, Haluk & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2006. "Games of school choice under the Boston mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 215-237.
    3. Kojima Fuhito, 2007. "When Can Manipulations be Avoided in Two-Sided Matching Markets? -- Maximal Domain Results," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-18, September.
    4. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sonmez, 2008. "Leveling the Playing Field: Sincere and Sophisticated Players in the Boston Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1636-1652.
    5. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2013. "School Admissions Reform in Chicago and England: Comparing Mechanisms by Their Vulnerability to Manipulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 80-106.
    6. Shapley, Lloyd & Scarf, Herbert, 1974. "On cores and indivisibility," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 23-37, March.
    7. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Yeon-Koo Che & Yosuke Yasuda, 2011. "Resolving Conflicting Preferences in School Choice: The "Boston Mechanism" Reconsidered," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 399-410.
    8. Ma, Jinpeng, 1996. "On Randomized Matching Mechanisms," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), pages 377-381.
    9. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 368-371.
    10. 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, pages 415-440.
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    12. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 729-747.
    13. Fuhito Kojima, 2006. "Mixed Strategies in Games of Capacity Manipulation in Hospital–Intern Markets," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 27(1), pages 25-28, August.
    14. Haluk I. Ergin, 2002. "Efficient Resource Allocation on the Basis of Priorities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2489-2497, November.
    15. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 364-367.
    16. Kesten, Onur, 2006. "On two competing mechanisms for priority-based allocation problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 155-171, March.
    17. 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.
    18. Sonmez, Tayfun, 1997. "Manipulation via Capacities in Two-Sided Matching Markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 197-204, November.
    19. Balinski, Michel & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "A Tale of Two Mechanisms: Student Placement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-94, January.
    20. Onur Kesten, 2010. "School Choice with Consent," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1297-1348.
    21. Ma, Jinpeng, 1994. "Strategy-Proofness and the Strict Core in a Market with Indivisibilities," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 23(1), pages 75-83.
    22. Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "Can Pre-arranged Matches Be Avoided in Two-Sided Matching Markets?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 148-156, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kojima, Fuhito, 2013. "Efficient resource allocation under multi-unit demand," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 1-14.
    2. repec:spr:joecth:v:64:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00199-016-0995-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Afacan, Mustafa Oǧuz, 2013. "Application fee manipulations in matching markets," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 446-453.
    4. Afacan, Mustafa Oǧuz, 2016. "Enrollment manipulations in school choice," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 119-125.
    5. Triossi, Matteo & Romero-Medina, Antonio, 2017. "Two-sided strategy-proofness in many-to-many matching markets," UC3M Working papers. Economics 26081, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    6. Harless, Patrick, 2014. "A School Choice Compromise: Between Immediate and Deferred Acceptance," MPRA Paper 61417, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Mustafa Afacan, 2014. "Fictitious students creation incentives in school choice problems," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 56(3), pages 493-514, August.
    8. António Neto, 2015. "The Portuguese high school match," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(3), pages 1765-1771.
    9. repec:eee:mateco:v:72:y:2017:i:c:p:16-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Thayer Morrill, 2015. "Two simple variations of top trading cycles," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 60(1), pages 123-140, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    School choice; Student-optimal stable mechanism; Top trading cycles; Boston mechanism; Acyclicity; C71; C78; C79; D61; D71; D78;

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C79 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Other
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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