Cadet-Branch Matching ¨ TAYFUN SONMEZ Boston College Prior to 2006, the United States Military Academy (USMA) matched cadets to military specialties (branches) using a single category ranking system to determine priority. Since 2006, priority for the last 25 percent of the slots at each branch has been given to cadets who sign a branch-of-choice contract committing to serve in the Army for three additional years. Building on theoretical work of Hatfield and Milgrom (2005) and Hatfield and Kojima (2010), S¨nmez and Switzer (2013) show o that the resulting new matching problem not only has practical importance but also it fills a gap in the market design literature. Even though the new branch priorities designed by the Department of the Army fail a substitutes condition, the cumulative offer algorithm of Hatfield-Milgrom gives a cadet-optimal stable outcome in this environment. The resulting mechanism restores a number of important properties to the current USMA mechanism including stability, strategy-proofness and fairness which not only increase cadet welfare consistent with OCSP goals but also provides the Army with very accurate estimates of the effect of a change in the parameters of the mechanism on number of man-year gains by the branch-of-choice incentive program.
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Published: Nov 25, 2014