Economic Theory

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 251–283 | Cite as

Sequential versus simultaneous assignment systems and two applications

  • Umut Dur
  • Onur KestenEmail author
Research Article


We study assignment systems where objects are assigned to agents sequentially. Student placement to exam and mainstream schools in the USA and centralized teacher appointment in Turkey are two of many examples. Despite their prevalence in practice, research on sequential systems has been rather limited. We analyze the properties of the systems in use in these places and show that they do not satisfy desirable fairness, welfare, and incentive criteria. It turns out such shortcomings are inherent in more general sequential assignment systems as well. We then analyze preference revelation games associated with various sequential systems including those comprising of combinations of well-known mechanisms.


Sequential assignment Simultaneous assignment Non-wastefulness Straightforwardness 

JEL Classification

C78 D61 D78 I20 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Tepper School of BusinessCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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