How To De-reserve Reserves

43 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2021 Last revised: 13 Apr 2021

See all articles by Orhan Aygun

Orhan Aygun

Bogazici University

Bertan Turhan

Iowa State University

Date Written: March 9, 2021


Reserve systems have been designed and implemented for numerous real-world resource allocation problems. Often, de-reservation policies accompany reserve systems to prevent waste in instances of low demand for exclusive reserve categories. De-reservation policies must be executed carefully so that allocation mechanisms have desired properties. We evaluate the de-reservation policy that has been implemented in admissions to technical universities in India and reveal its shortcomings. We introduce two families of choice procedures—backward and forward transfers choice rules—and deferred acceptance mechanisms with respect to these choice rules to retrieve these shortcomings. We introduce a framework to compare choice rules on the basis of merit and show that forward transfers choice rules select more meritorious sets than backward transfers choice rules.

Keywords: Reserve Systems, De-reservations, Affirmative Action, Market Design

JEL Classification: C78, D47, D63

Suggested Citation

Aygun, Orhan and Turhan, Bertan, How To De-reserve Reserves (March 9, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Orhan Aygun

Bogazici University ( email )

Bebek, İstanbul 34342

Bertan Turhan (Contact Author)

Iowa State University ( email )

260 Heady Hall
Ames, IA 50011
United States

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