Implementing Quotas in University Admissions: An Experimental Analysis

48 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2011

See all articles by Sebastian Braun

Sebastian Braun

Kiel Institute for the World Economy - IFW

Nadja Dwenger

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance

Dorothea Kübler

Social Science Research Center (WZB); Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) - Faculty of Economics and Management

Alexander Westkamp

Institut für Mikroökonomik

Date Written: December 28, 2011

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.

Keywords: college admissions, experiment, quotas, matching, Gale-Shapley mechanism, Boston mechanism

JEL Classification: C78, C92, D78, I20

Suggested Citation

Braun, Sebastian Till and Dwenger, Nadja and Kübler, Dorothea F. and Westkamp, Alexander, Implementing Quotas in University Admissions: An Experimental Analysis (December 28, 2011). Working Paper of the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance No. 2011-22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1977421 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1977421

Sebastian Till Braun

Kiel Institute for the World Economy - IFW ( email )

United States

Nadja Dwenger (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance ( email )

10117
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.tax.mpg.de/en/pub/public_economics/public_economics_people/dwenger_nadja.cfm

Dorothea F. Kübler

Social Science Research Center (WZB) ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany
40 30 25491440 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.wzb.eu/mp/vam/people/dorothea_kuebler.de.htm

Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) - Faculty of Economics and Management ( email )

D-10623 Berlin
Germany
+49 30 31425263 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.wiwi-experimente.tu-berlin.de/

Alexander Westkamp

Institut für Mikroökonomik ( email )

Lennestrasse 37
53113 Bonn
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ2.uni-bonn.de/members-of-the-chair/westkamp

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