IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Implementing quotas in university admissions: An experimental analysis

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

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior with number SP II 2012-201.

in new window

Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmbh:spii2012201
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany

Phone: ++49 - 30 - 25491 - 0
Fax: ++49 - 30 - 25491 - 684
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. EHLERS, Lars, 2010. "School Choice with Control," Cahiers de recherche 13-2010, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  3. Peter Coles & Ran Shorrer, 2013. "Optimal Truncation in Matching Markets," Working Papers 2013.49, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. Braun, Sebastian & Dwenger, Nadja & Kübler, Dorothea, 2007. "Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off: An Empirical Study of Centralised University Admissions in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3261, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Chen, Yan & Onur, Kesten, 2013. "From Boston to Chinese parallel to deferred acceptance: Theory and experiments on a family of school choice mechanisms," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-205, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  6. Yan Chen & Tayfun Sönmez, 2004. "School Choice: An Experimental Study," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 622, Boston College Department of Economics.
  7. Charness, Gary B & Cabrales, Antonio & Corchon, Luis C, 2001. "An Experiment on Nash Implementation," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8275577k, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  8. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 364-367, May.
  9. Joana Pais & Agnes Pinter, 2007. "School Choice and Information. An Experimental Study on Matching Mechanisms," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 018, University of Siena.
  10. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2011. "School Admissions Reform in Chicago and England: Comparing Mechanisms by their Vulnerability to Manipulation," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 784, Boston College Department of Economics.
  11. Roth, Alvin E, 1984. "The Evolution of the Labor Market for Medical Interns and Residents: A Case Study in Game Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 991-1016, December.
  12. Kojima, Fuhito, 2012. "School choice: Impossibilities for affirmative action," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 685-693.
  13. Ergin, Haluk & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2006. "Games of school choice under the Boston mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 215-237, January.
  14. 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.
  15. 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, 08.
  16. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  17. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sonmez, 2006. "Changing the Boston School Choice Mechanism," NBER Working Papers 11965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. Pablo Guillen & Onur Kesten, 2012. "Matching Markets With Mixed Ownership: The Case For A Real‐Life Assignment Mechanism," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(3), pages 1027-1046, 08.
  20. Shapley, Lloyd & Scarf, Herbert, 1974. "On cores and indivisibility," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 23-37, March.
  21. Guillaume Haeringer & Caterina Calsamiglia & Flip Klijn, 2009. "Constrained School Choice: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 2009.29, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  22. Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2009. "Matching, Allocation, and Exchange of Discrete Resources," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 717, Boston College Department of Economics.
  23. Paul Milgrom, 2003. "Matching with Contracts," Working Papers 03003, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  24. Timothy N. Cason & Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Tomas Sjostrom & Takehiko Yamato, 2005. "Secure Implementation Experiments: Do Strategy-proof Mechanisms Really Work?," Economics Working Papers 0055, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  25. Scott Duke Kominers & Tayfun Sönmez, 2012. "Designing for Diversity: Matching with Slot-Specific Priorities," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 806, Boston College Department of Economics.
  26. Alexander Westkamp, 2013. "An analysis of the German university admissions system," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 53(3), pages 561-589, August.
  27. Sebastian Braun & Nadja Dwenger & Dorothea Kübler, 2007. "Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 759, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  28. Haluk I. Ergin, 2002. "Efficient Resource Allocation on the Basis of Priorities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2489-2497, November.
  29. Sefton, Martin & Yavas, Abdullah, 1996. "Abreu-Matsushima Mechanisms: Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 280-302, October.
  30. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
  31. Parag A. Pathak, 2011. "The Mechanism Design Approach to Student Assignment," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 513-536, 09.
  32. Fuhito Kojima & Parag A. Pathak, 2009. "Incentives and Stability in Large Two-Sided Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 608-27, June.
  33. 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.
  34. repec:pit:wpaper:487 is not listed on IDEAS
  35. Yenmez, M. Bumin & Yildirim, Muhammed Ali & Hafalir, Isa Emin, 2013. "Effective affirmative action in school choice," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(2), May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmbh:spii2012201. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.