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Constitutional Implementation of Vertical and Horizontal Reservations in India: A Unified Mechanism for Civil Service Allocation and College Admissions


  • Tayfun Sönmez

    () (Boston College)

  • M. Bumin Yenmez

    (Boston College)


In order to address the historic discrimination faced by various communities under the caste system, a comprehensive affirmative action system exists in India, reserving access to government jobs and to enrollment in higher educational institutions. While there is a Supreme Court-mandated mechanism to implement these reservations when the positions are homogeneous, no mechanism is provided when the positions are heterogeneous. This gap results in widespread adoption of unconstitutional mechanisms, countless lawsuits, regular judicial review, and inconsistent judgements including at the Supreme Court level. We identify the root cause of all these challenges, and propose a design to overcome them.

Suggested Citation

  • Tayfun Sönmez & M. Bumin Yenmez, 2019. "Constitutional Implementation of Vertical and Horizontal Reservations in India: A Unified Mechanism for Civil Service Allocation and College Admissions," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 978, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:978

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    Market design; matching; affirmative action; deferred acceptance;

    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

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