Manipulation of Attractiveness in Two-Sided Matching Markets

32 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2023 Last revised: 22 Feb 2024

See all articles by Gustavo Saraiva

Gustavo Saraiva

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile


Most theoretical research on two-sided matching markets has focused on studying agents' incentives to misreport their own preferences while paying little attention to their incentives to manipulate the preferences from agents on the other side of the market. This paper attempts to fill this gap by showing that, in two-sided stable matching markets in which colleges are not fully allowed to express their true preferences over students, colleges have incentives to reduce their attractiveness among unacceptable students. We identify conditions under which this behavior is expected to occur for several different matching mechanisms. Our results show that it is difficult to find a mechanism that is completely immune to this type of manipulation, although some mechanisms seem more manipulable than others. This highlights the importance of the imposition of regulatory policies that not only prevent schools from giving low priority to less profitable students in the admission process, but also prevent them from discouraging the application of these students in centralized matching markets.

Keywords: Matching, Stability, Manipulation, Discrimination

Suggested Citation

Saraiva, Gustavo, Manipulation of Attractiveness in Two-Sided Matching Markets. Available at SSRN: or

Gustavo Saraiva (Contact Author)

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile ( email )

Av Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins 340
Santiago, Región Metropolitana 8331150
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