Economics Working Papers

Publication Date





Since 1950, India has been implementing the most comprehensive affirmative action program in the world. Vertical reservations are provided to members of historically discriminated Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC). Horizontal reservations are provided for other disadvantaged groups, such as women and disabled people, within each vertical category. As discussed in Sönmez and Yenmez (2019a), the lack of a well-defined procedure to implement horizontal reservations results in extensive confusion. Indirect mechanisms currently used in practice do not allow reserve category applicants to fully express their preferences. Moreover, the sequential processes in use for OBC de-reservations lead to severe shortcomings. To overcome these and other related issues, we design choice rules for institutions that take meritocracy, vertical and horizontal reservations, and OBC de-reservations into account. The cumulative offer mechanisms with respect to these choice rules satisfactorily clear matching markets in India.

JEL Classification

C78, D47

Version History

Original Release Date: April 22, 2020

Revision: April 29, 2020


Department of Economics, Iowa State University

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41 pages