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On the (im)possibility of improving upon the student-proposing deferred acceptance mechanism


  • Kesten, Onur
  • Kurino, Morimitsu


This paper studies a general school choice problem with or without outside options. The Gale-Shapley student-proposing deferred acceptance mechanism (DA) has played a central role not only in theory but also in important practical applications. We show that in problems where some students cannot credibly submit a single school as the only acceptable option, it is possible to improve upon DA without sacrificing strategyproofness. On the other hand, in unrestricted problems where no outside options necessarily exist, it is not possible to improve upon DA via a strategy-proof mechanism.

Suggested Citation

  • Kesten, Onur & Kurino, Morimitsu, 2012. "On the (im)possibility of improving upon the student-proposing deferred acceptance mechanism," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2012-202, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmbh:spii2012202

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aytek Erdil, 2013. "Strategy-Proof Stochastic Assignment," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1333, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Aytek Erdil & Haluk Ergin, 2008. "What's the Matter with Tie-Breaking? Improving Efficiency in School Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 669-689, June.
    3. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez, 2006. "Changing the Boston School Choice Mechanism," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 639, Boston College Department of Economics.
    4. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
    5. Balinski, Michel & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "A Tale of Two Mechanisms: Student Placement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-94, January.
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    More about this item


    student-proposing deferred acceptance mechanism; strategy-proofness; Pareto dominance; outside options;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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