Economics Working Papers

Publication Date





We study a school choice problem under affirmative action policies where authorities reserve a certain fraction of the slots at each school for specific student groups, and where students have preferences not only over the schools they are matched to but also the type of slots they receive. Such reservation policies might cause waste in instances of low student demand from some student groups. To propose a solution to this issue, we construct a family of choice functions, dynamic reserves choice functions, for schools that respect within-group fairness and allow the transfer of otherwise vacant slots from low-demand groups to high-demand groups. We propose the cumulative offer mechanism (COM) as an allocation rule where each school uses a dynamic reserves choice function and show that it is stable with respect to schools’ choice functions, is strategy-proof, and respects improvements. Furthermore, we show that transferring more of the otherwise vacant slots leads to strategy-proof Pareto improvement under the COM.

JEL Classification

C78, D47, D61, D63

Version History

Original Release Date: September 25, 2019


Department of Economics, Iowa State University

File Format



27 pages