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Implementing quotas in university admissions: An experimental analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Sebastian Braun
  • Nadja Dwenger
  • Dorothea Kübler
  • Alexander Westkamp

Abstract

Quotas for special groups of students often apply in school or university admission procedures. This paper studies the performance of two mechanisms to implement such quotas in a lab experiment. The first mechanism is a simplified version of the mechanism currently employed by the German central clearinghouse for university admissions, which first allocates seats in the quota for top-grade students before allocating all other seats among remaining applicants. The second is a modified version of the student-proposing deferred acceptance (SDA) algorithm, which simultaneously allocates seats in all quotas. Our main result is that the current procedure, designed to give top-grade students an advantage, actually harms them, as students often fail to grasp the strategic issues involved. The modified SDA algorithm significantly improves the matching for top-grade students and could thus be a valuable tool for redesigning university admissions in Germany

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Braun & Nadja Dwenger & Dorothea Kübler & Alexander Westkamp, 2012. "Implementing quotas in university admissions: An experimental analysis," Kiel Working Papers 1761, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1761
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    College admissions; experiment; quotas; matching; Gale-Shapley mechanism; Boston mechanism;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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