Dynamic Matching in School Choice: Efficient Seat Reassignment after Late Cancellations
68 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2017 Last revised: 9 Aug 2019
Date Written: June 27, 2017
In the school choice market, where scarce public school seats are assigned to students, a key operational issue is how to reassign seats that are vacated after an initial round of centralized assignment. Practical solutions to the reassignment problem must be simple to implement, truthful and efficient while also alleviating costly student movement between schools. We propose and axiomatically justify a class of reassignment mechanisms, the Permuted Lottery Deferred Acceptance (PLDA) mechanisms. Our mechanisms generalize the commonly used Deferred Acceptance (DA) school choice mechanism to a two-round setting and retain its desirable incentive and efficiency properties. School choice systems typically run DA with a lottery number assigned to each student to break ties in school priorities. We show that under natural conditions on demand, the second round tie-breaking lottery can be correlated arbitrarily with that of the first round without affecting allocative welfare, and reversing the lottery order between rounds minimizes reassignment among all PLDA mechanisms. Empirical investigations based on data from NYC high school admissions support our theoretical findings.
Keywords: dynamic matching, matching markets, school choice, deferred acceptance, tie-breaking, cancellations, reassignments
JEL Classification: C78, C73, D47, D82, I28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation