Static versus dynamic deferred acceptance in school choice: Theory and experiment


Authors: Flip Klijn, Joana Pais and Marc Vorsatz

Games and Economic Behavior

In the context of school choice, we experimentally study how behavior and outcomes are affected when, instead of submitting rankings in the student-proposing or school-proposing deferred acceptance (DA) mechanism, students make decisions dynamically, going through the steps of the underlying algorithms. Our main results show that, contrary to theory, (a) in the dynamic student-proposing DA mechanism, students propose to schools respecting the order of their true preferences slightly more often than in its static version while, (b) in the dynamic school-proposing DA mechanism, students react to proposals by always respecting the order and not accepting schools in the tail of their true preferences more often than in the corresponding static version. As a consequence, the dynamic mechanisms outperform their static counterparts in what stability and average payoffs are concerned. In the aggregate, the dynamic school-proposing DA mechanism is the best performing mechanism.

This paper originally appeared as Barcelona GSE Working Paper 926