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Mechanism Design meets Priority Design: Redesigning the US Army’s Branching Process Through Market Design

Kyle Greenberg (), Parag Pathak and Tayfun Sönmez ()

No 1035, Boston College Working Papers in Economics from Boston College Department of Economics

Abstract: Army cadets obtain occupations through a centralized process. Three objectives – increasing retention, aligning talent, and enhancing trust – have guided reforms to this process since 2006. West Point’s mechanism for the Class of 2020 exacerbated challenges implementing Army policy aims. We formulate these desiderata as axioms and study their implications theoretically and with administrative data. We show that the Army’s objectives not only determine an allocation mechanism, but also a specific priority policy, a uniqueness result that integrates mechanism and priority design. These results led to a re-design of the mechanism, now adopted at both West Point and ROTC.

Keywords: mechanism design; Army branch selection; priority design (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C78 D47 D63 D78 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-06-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-des
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