Suboptimal Behavior in Strategy-Proof Mechanisms: Evidence from the Residency Match

40 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2015 Last revised: 31 May 2017

See all articles by Alex Rees-Jones

Alex Rees-Jones

Cornell University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 26, 2016

Abstract

Strategy-proof mechanisms eliminate the possibility for gain from strategic misrepresentation of preferences. If market participants respond optimally, these mechanisms permit the observation of true preferences and avoid the implicit punishment of market participants who do not try to "game the system." Using new data from a flagship application of the matching literature - the medical residency match - I study if these potential benefits are fully realized. I present evidence that some students pursue futile attempts at strategic misrepresentation, and examine the causes and correlates of this behavior. These results inform the assessment of the costs and benefits of strategy-proof mechanisms, and demonstrate broad challenges in mechanism design.

Keywords: matching, deferred acceptance algorithm, suboptimal behavior.

JEL Classification: C78, D03.

Suggested Citation

Rees-Jones, Alex, Suboptimal Behavior in Strategy-Proof Mechanisms: Evidence from the Residency Match (December 26, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2662670 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2662670

Alex Rees-Jones (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.alexreesjones.com

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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