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Preference Discovery in University Admissions: The Case for Dynamic Multioffer Mechanisms

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  • Julien Grenet
  • YingHua He
  • Dorothea Kübler

Abstract

We document quasi-experimental evidence against the common assumption in the matching literature that agents have full information on their own preferences. In Germany’s university admissions, the first stages of the Gale-Shapley algorithm are implemented in real time, allowing for multiple offers per student. We demonstrate that nonexploding early offers are accepted more often than later offers, despite not being more desirable. These results, together with survey evidence and a theoretical model, are consistent with students’ costly discovery of preferences. A novel dynamic multioffer mechanism that batches early offers improves matching efficiency by informing students of offer availability before preference discovery.

Suggested Citation

  • Julien Grenet & YingHua He & Dorothea Kübler, 2022. "Preference Discovery in University Admissions: The Case for Dynamic Multioffer Mechanisms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 130(6), pages 1427-1476.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/718983
    DOI: 10.1086/718983
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    Cited by:

    1. Grenet, Julien & He, YingHua & Kübler, Dorothea, 2022. "Preference Discovery in University Admissions: The Case for Dynamic Multioffer Mechanisms," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 130(6), pages 1-1.
    2. TANAKA Mari & NARITA Yusuke & MORIGUCHI Chiaki, 2020. "Meritocracy and Its Discontent: Long-run Effects of Repeated School Admission Reforms," Discussion papers 20002, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    3. Yvonne Giesing & Björn Kauder & Lukas Mergele & Niklas Potrafke & Panu Poutvaara, 2024. "Moving Out of the Comfort Zone: How Cultural Norms Affect Attitudes toward Immigration," CESifo Working Paper Series 10985, CESifo.
    4. Hakimov, Rustamdjan & Kübler, Dorothea & Pan, Siqi, 2021. "Costly Information Acquisition in Centralized Matching Markets," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 280, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    5. Li Chen & Juan S. Pereyra & Min Zhu, 2022. "Time-constrained Dynamic Mechanisms for College Admissions," Papers 2207.12179, arXiv.org.
    6. Rustamdjan Hakimov & Madhav Raghavan, 2023. "Improving Transparency and Verifiability in School Admissions: Theory and Experiment," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 376, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    7. Estelle Cantillon & Li Chen & Juan Sebastian Pereyra Barreiro, 2022. "Respecting priorities versus respecting preferences in school choice: When is there a trade-off ?," Working Papers ECARES 2022-39, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Timm Opitz & Christoph Schwaiger, 2023. "Reciprocal Preferences in Matching Markets," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 388, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    9. Bnaya Dreyfuss & Ofer Glicksohn & Ori Heffetz & Assaf Romm, 2022. "Deferred Acceptance with News Utility," NBER Working Papers 30635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D47 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Market Design
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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