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Affirmative Action with Overlapping Reserves

Author

Listed:
  • Tayfun Sönmez

    (Boston College)

  • M. Bumin Yenmez

    (Boston College)

Abstract

In a wide variety of real-life resource allocation problems such as school choice or assignment of public positions, implementation of affirmative action policies rely on choice rules that balance meritocracy with equity. We study choice rules where meritocracy is attained through reliance on a priority list, and equity is attained through reserved positions for target groups of disadvantaged individuals. Focusing on overlapping reserves, the case where an individual can belong to multiple types of reserved positions, we characterize choice rules that satisfy maximal compliance with reservations, elimination of justified envy, and non-wastefulness. When an individual accommodates only one of the reserved positions, the horizontal envelope choice rule is the only rule to satisfy these three axioms. When an individual accommodates each of the reserved positions she qualifies for, there are complementarities between individuals. Under this alternative convention, and assuming there are only two target groups, such as women and minorities, we show that paired-admission choice rules are the only ones to satisfy the three axioms. Building on these results, we provide improved allocation mechanisms for school choice in Chile, public position allocation in India, and college admissions in Brazil.

Suggested Citation

  • Tayfun Sönmez & M. Bumin Yenmez, 2019. "Affirmative Action with Overlapping Reserves," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 990, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 15 Jan 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:990
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tayfun Sönmez & M. Bumin Yenmez, 2019. "Affirmative Action in India via Vertical and Horizontal Reservations," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 977, Boston College Department of Economics.
    2. Aygün, Orhan & Turhan, Bertan, 2020. "Dynamic reserves in matching markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    3. Kominers, Scott Duke & Sönmez, Tayfun, 2016. "Matching with slot-specific priorities: theory," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(2), May.
    4. Ehlers, Lars & Hafalir, Isa E. & Yenmez, M. Bumin & Yildirim, Muhammed A., 2014. "School choice with controlled choice constraints: Hard bounds versus soft bounds," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 648-683.
    5. Umut Mert Dur & Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2016. "Explicit vs. Statistical Preferential Treatment in Affirmative Action: Theory and Evidence from Chicago’s Exam Schools," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 906, Boston College Department of Economics.
    6. Dur, Umut & Pathak, Parag A. & Sönmez, Tayfun, 2020. "Explicit vs. statistical targeting in affirmative action: Theory and evidence from Chicago's exam schools," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 187(C).
    7. Orhan Ayg?n & Tayfun S?nmez, 2013. "Matching with Contracts: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 2050-2051, August.
    8. Kojima, Fuhito & Tamura, Akihisa & Yokoo, Makoto, 2018. "Designing matching mechanisms under constraints: An approach from discrete convex analysis," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 803-833.
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    Cited by:

    1. Reischmann, Tobias & Klein, Thilo & Giegerich, Sven, 2021. "An iterative deferred acceptance mechanism for decentralized, fast and fair childcare assignment," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-095, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    2. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver & M. Bumin Yenmez, 2020. "Fair Allocation of Vaccines, Ventilators and Antiviral Treatments: Leaving No Ethical Value Behind in Health Care Rationing," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 1015, Boston College Department of Economics.
    3. Tobias Reischmann & Thilo Klein & Sven Giegerich, 2021. "A deferred acceptance mechanism for decentralized, fast, and fair childcare assignment," The Journal of Mechanism and Institution Design, Society for the Promotion of Mechanism and Institution Design, University of York, vol. 6(1), pages 59-100, December.
    4. Haris Aziz & Florian Brandl, 2021. "Efficient, Fair, and Incentive-Compatible Healthcare Rationing," Papers 2102.04384, arXiv.org, revised Sep 2021.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Market design; matching; affirmative action; deferred acceptance;
    All these keywords.

    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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