College Admissions and the Stability of Marriage

by David Gale, Lloyd S. Shapley

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Abstract

A procedure for assigning applicants to colleges which removes all uncertainties and, assuming there are enough applicants, assigns to each college precisely its quota. To determine the existence of stable assignments, the authors discuss whether it is possible, for any pattern of preferences, to find a stable set of marriages. It is shown that the extension of the "deferred acceptance" procedure to the problem of college admission yields not only a stable but an optimal assignment of applicants.

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