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An Experimental Investigation of Preference Misrepresentation in the Residency Match

Alex Rees-Jones and Samuel Skowronek

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Abstract: The development and deployment of matching procedures that incentivize truthful preference reporting is considered one of the major successes of market design research. In this study, we test the degree to which these procedures succeed in eliminating preference misrepresentation. We administered an online experiment to 1,714 medical students immediately after their participation in the medical residency match--a leading field application of strategy-proof market design. When placed in an analogous, incentivized matching task, we find that 23% of participants misrepresent their preferences. We explore the factors that predict preference misrepresentation, including cognitive ability, strategic positioning, overconfidence, expectations, advice, and trust. We discuss the implications of this behavior for the design of allocation mechanisms and the social welfare in markets that use them.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-des, nep-exp and nep-gth
Date: 2018-02, Revised 2018-08
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