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Bidding for Army Career Specialties: Improving the ROTC Branching Mechanism

  • Tayfun Sönmez

    ()

    (Boston College)

Motivated by historically low retention rates of graduates at USMA and ROTC, the Army recently introduced branch-for-service incentives programs where cadets could bid an additional three years of active duty service obligation to obtain higher priority for their desired career specialties. The full potential of this highly innovative program is not utilized, due to the ROTC's choice of a poorly behaved cadet-branch matching mechanism. Not only does the ROTC mechanism effectively block the access of a large fraction of moderately high-skilled cadets to key career branches, but it is also highly vulnerable to preference manipulation and encourages effort reduction, potentially compromising human capital accumulation of the Army. Building on recent advances in matching markets, we propose a design that eliminates each of these deficiencies and also benefits the Army by mitigating several policy problems that the Army has identified. In contrast to the ROTC mechanism, our design utilizes market principles more elaborately, and it can be interpreted as a hybrid between a market mechanism and a priority-based allocation mechanism.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 783.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:783
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  1. Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2009. "Matching, Allocation, and Exchange of Discrete Resources," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 717, Boston College Department of Economics.
  2. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sonmez & M. Utku Unver, 2003. "Kidney Exchange," Game Theory and Information 0308002, EconWPA.
  3. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2011. "School Admissions Reform in Chicago and England: Comparing Mechanisms by their Vulnerability to Manipulation," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 784, Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. John William Hatfield & Fuhito Kojima, 2008. "Matching with Contracts: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1189-94, June.
  5. Federico Echenique, 2012. "Contracts versus Salaries in Matching," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 594-601, February.
  6. Roth, Alvin E. & Sonmez, Tayfun & Utku Unver, M., 2005. "Pairwise kidney exchange," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 125(2), pages 151-188, December.
  7. Caterina Calsamiglia & Guillaume Haeringer & Flip Klijn, 2008. "Constrained School Choice: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 365, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  8. Onur Kesten, 2010. "School Choice with Consent," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1297-1348, August.
  9. Tayfun Sönmez & Alvin E. Roth & M. Utku Ünver, 2007. "Efficient Kidney Exchange: Coincidence of Wants in Markets with Compatibility-Based Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 828-851, June.
  10. Tayfun Sonmez & M. Utku Unver, 2003. "Course Bidding at Business Schools," Game Theory and Information 0306001, EconWPA, revised 02 Jan 2004.
  11. Crawford, Vincent P & Knoer, Elsie Marie, 1981. "Job Matching with Heterogeneous Firms and Workers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(2), pages 437-50, March.
  12. Orhan Aygün & Tayfun Sönmez, 2012. "Matching with Contracts: The Critical Role of Irrelevance of Rejected Contracts," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 804, Boston College Department of Economics.
  13. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun S�nmez, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 368-371, May.
  14. Kominers, Scott Duke, 2012. "On the correspondence of contracts to salaries in (many-to-many) matching," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 984-989.
  15. Kelso, Alexander S, Jr & Crawford, Vincent P, 1982. "Job Matching, Coalition Formation, and Gross Substitutes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1483-1504, November.
  16. Aytek Erdil & Haluk Ergin, 2008. "What's the Matter with Tie-Breaking? Improving Efficiency in School Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 669-89, June.
  17. Haluk Ergin & Tayfun Sönmez, 2005. "Games of School Choice under the Boston Mechanism," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 619, Boston College Department of Economics.
  18. Eric Budish & Estelle Cantillon, 2012. "The Multi-unit Assignment Problem: Theory and Evidence from Course Allocation at Harvard," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2237-71, August.
  19. Varian, Hal R., 2007. "Position auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1163-1178, December.
  20. Guillaume Haeringer & Flip Klijn, 2008. "Constrained School Choice," Working Papers 294, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  21. Benjamin Edelman & Michael Ostrovsky & Michael Schwarz, 2005. "Internet Advertising and the Generalized Second Price Auction: Selling Billions of Dollars Worth of Keywords," NBER Working Papers 11765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sonmez, 2008. "Leveling the Playing Field: Sincere and Sophisticated Players in the Boston Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1636-52, September.
  23. Tayfun Sönmez & Tobias B. Switzer, 2011. "Matching with (Branch-of-Choice) Contracts at United States Military Academy," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 782, Boston College Department of Economics.
  24. Hatfield, John William & Kojima, Fuhito, 2010. "Substitutes and stability for matching with contracts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(5), pages 1704-1723, September.
  25. Orhan Aygün & Tayfun Sönmez, 2012. "The Importance of Irrelevance of Rejected Contracts in Matching under Weakened Substitutes Conditions," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 805, Boston College Department of Economics.
  26. M. Utku �nver, 2010. "Dynamic Kidney Exchange," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(1), pages 372-414.
  27. Eric Budish, 2011. "The Combinatorial Assignment Problem: Approximate Competitive Equilibrium from Equal Incomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(6), pages 1061 - 1103.
  28. Tayfun Sönmez & Tobias B. Switzer, 2013. "Matching With (Branch‐of‐Choice) Contracts at the United States Military Academy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(2), pages 451-488, 03.
  29. Gul, Faruk & Stacchetti, Ennio, 2000. "The English Auction with Differentiated Commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 66-95, May.
  30. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
  31. Balinski, Michel & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "A Tale of Two Mechanisms: Student Placement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-94, January.
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