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Implementing quotas in university admissions: An experimental investigation

Author

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  • Braun, Sebastian
  • Dwenger, Nadja
  • Kübler, Dorothea
  • Westkamp, Alexander

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

  • Braun, Sebastian & Dwenger, Nadja & Kübler, Dorothea & Westkamp, Alexander, 2012. "Implementing quotas in university admissions: An experimental investigation," Kiel Working Papers 1761, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkwp:1761
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Braun Sebastian & Dwenger Nadja & Kübler Dorothea, 2010. "Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off: An Empirical Study of Centralized University Admissions in Germany," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-38, March.
    2. Joana Pais & Ágnes Pintér & Róbert F. Veszteg, 2011. "College Admissions And The Role Of Information: An Experimental Study," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(3), pages 713-737, August.
    3. Chen, Yan & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2006. "School choice: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 202-231, March.
    4. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2013. "School Admissions Reform in Chicago and England: Comparing Mechanisms by Their Vulnerability to Manipulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 80-106, February.
    5. Shapley, Lloyd & Scarf, Herbert, 1974. "On cores and indivisibility," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 23-37, March.
    6. EHLERS, Lars, 2010. "School Choice with Control," Cahiers de recherche 2010-05, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
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    9. Roth, Alvin E., 1985. "The college admissions problem is not equivalent to the marriage problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 277-288, August.
    10. Yuichiro Kamada & Fuhito Kojima, 2010. "Efficiency in Matching Markets with Regional Caps: The Case of the Japan Residency Matching Program," Discussion Papers 10-011, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    11. Federico Echenique & Alistair J. Wilson & Leeat Yariv, 2016. "Clearinghouses for two‐sided matching: An experimental study," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(2), pages 449-482, July.
    12. John H. Kagel & Alvin E. Roth, 2000. "The Dynamics of Reorganization in Matching Markets: A Laboratory Experiment Motivated by a Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 201-235.
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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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