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Comparing School Choice and College Admission Mechanisms By Their Immunity to Strategic Admissions

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Document pages: 30 pages

Abstract: Recently dozens of school districts and college admissions systems around theworld have reformed their admission rules. As a main motivation for thesereforms the policymakers cited strategic flaws of the rules: students hadstrong incentives to game the system, which caused dramatic consequences fornon-strategic students. However, almost none of the new rules werestrategy-proof. We explain this puzzle. We show that after the reforms therules became more immune to strategic admissions: each student received asmaller set of schools that he can get in using a strategy, weakeningincentives to manipulate. Simultaneously, the admission to each school becamestrategy-proof to a larger set of students, making the schools more availablefor non-strategic students. We also show that the existing explanation of thepuzzle due to Pathak and Sönmez (2013) is incomplete.

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