Equity in Dynamic Matching: Extreme Waitlist Policies

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See all articles by Afshin Nikzad

Afshin Nikzad

University of Southern California, Department of Economics

Philipp Strack

Yale, Department of Economics

Date Written: January 10, 2022

Abstract

Waitlist policies are commonly used to allocate scarce resources such as houses and organs.
These policies attempt to ensure fairness toward agents who wait longer by assigning them
priority points (`a la first-come first-served). We show that such point systems can lead to severe
inequality across the agents’ assignment probabilities, unless they use randomization. In our
large-market model, we prove that deterministic point systems lead to a more unequal allocation
than any other rule that respects earlier arrivals, an axiom that institutes fairness toward agents
with longer waits. Among the policies abiding by this axiom, we show that service in random
order leads to the most equal assignment probabilities.

Suggested Citation

Nikzad, Afshin and Strack, Philipp, Equity in Dynamic Matching: Extreme Waitlist Policies (January 10, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Afshin Nikzad (Contact Author)

University of Southern California, Department of Economics ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90066
United States

HOME PAGE: http://afshin-nikzad.com

Philipp Strack

Yale, Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

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