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Asymptotic Equivalence of Probabilistic Serial and Random Priority Mechanisms

The random priority (random serial dictatorship) mechanism is a common method for assigning objects to individuals. The mechanism is easy to implement and strategy-proof. However this mechanism is inefficient, as the agents may be made all better off by another mechanism that increases their chances of obtaining more preferred objects. Such an inefficiency is eliminated by the recent mechanism called probabilistic serial, but this mechanism is not strategy-proof. Thus, which mechanism to employ in practical applications has been an open question. This paper shows that these mechanisms become equivalent when the market becomes large. More specifically, given a set of object types, the random assignments in these mechanisms converge to each other as the number of copies of each object type approaches infinity. Thus, the inefficiency of the random priority mechanism becomes small in large markets. Our result gives some rationale for the common use of the random priority mechanism in practical problems such as student placement in public schools.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d16b/d1677.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1677.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1677
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Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

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  1. Balinski, Michel & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "A Tale of Two Mechanisms: Student Placement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-94, January.
  2. Hylland, Aanund & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1979. "The Efficient Allocation of Individuals to Positions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 293-314, April.
  3. Moulin, Herve & Cres, Moulin, 2000. "Scheduling with Opting Out: Improving upon Random Priority," Working Papers 2000-03, Rice University, Department of Economics.
  4. Jackson, Matthew O. & Manelli, Alejandro M., 1997. "Approximately Competitive Equilibria in Large Finite Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 354-376, December.
  5. Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "House Allocation with Existing Tenants," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 233-260, October.
  6. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
  7. Manea, Mihai, 2009. "Asymptotic ordinal inefficiency of random serial dictatorship," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(2), June.
  8. Martin W. Cripps & Jeroen M. Swinkels, 2006. "Efficiency of Large Double Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 47-92, 01.
  9. Sönmez, Tayfun & Pathak, Parag A. & Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," Scholarly Articles 2562764, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Moulin, Herve, 2001. "A New Solution to the Random Assignment Problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 295-328, October.
  11. Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2003. "Ordinal efficiency and dominated sets of assignments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 157-172, September.
  12. Sun, Yeneng, 2006. "The exact law of large numbers via Fubini extension and characterization of insurable risks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 31-69, January.
  13. McLennan, Andrew, 2002. "Ordinal Efficiency and the Polyhedral Separating Hyperplane Theorem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 435-449, August.
  14. Yan Chen & Tayfun S�nmez, 2002. "Improving Efficiency of On-Campus Housing: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1669-1686, December.
  15. Jackson, Matthew O., 1992. "Incentive compatibility and competitive allocations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 299-302, November.
  16. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "The law of large numbers with a continuum of IID random variables," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 19-25, February.
  17. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sonmez, 1998. "Random Serial Dictatorship and the Core from Random Endowments in House Allocation Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 689-702, May.
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