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Room Assignment A Market Approach Hassaan Khan and Sam Yellen Dec. 4, 2007 Room Assignment - The Status Quo Housing is a very stressful experience for undergraduates Residential Colleges divided into Suites which are comprised of rooms Reasons for Stress Scarcity of Desirable suites

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room assignment

Room Assignment

A Market Approach

Hassaan Khan and Sam Yellen

Dec. 4, 2007

room assignment the status quo
Room Assignment - The Status Quo
  • Housing is a very stressful experience for undergraduates
  • Residential Colleges divided into Suites which are comprised of rooms
reasons for stress
Reasons for Stress
  • Scarcity of Desirable suites
  • Individual Preferences
    • Partners
    • Rooms
  • Heterogeneous distribution
  • Stickiness
existing system
Existing System
  • Form teams to enter “room draw”
  • Teams advised by rooming committee about availability
  • Each team draws a number
  • Teams choose suites, largest to smallest according to lottery number
  • Unsuccessful team broken up and redraw for a smaller room.
why a market solution
Why a Market Solution?
  • Information asymmetry
    • Among groups
    • Within groups
    • Regulatory – (between housing committee and student body)
  • Temporal Rigidity
    • If groups are awarded in a set order, certain behaviors are incentivized.
markets aggregate preferences
Markets Aggregate Preferences
  • Information asymmetry
    • Price can signal preference
      • For a individual choosing a group
      • For groups choosing rooms
  • Temporal Rigidity
    • Bids can be entered and modified simultaneously
    • Students can immediately bid on the rooms they find most desirable.
market design
Market Design
  • Each Student assigned 100 points.
  • Scarcity of points forces bids to reflect preferences
  • Two ways to bid
    • On individual room in a suite
    • Join a team and bid for a suite collectively
  • Bidders can diversify the spending of their points, so that if they do not win a certain room they still have a chance to win a different room.
  • Soft Ending – Auction closes a set amount of time after last bid.
experimental design
Experimental Design
  • 2 runs, 2 treatments each
  • Each player assigned affinities for other players
  • Status Quo vs. Market-Based
  • Participants asked to team up with other players to maximize utility, the sum of affinities
results
Results
  • Market and Status Quo outcomes Identical
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Market Based Approach at least as efficient as status quo in allocating rooms.

Other Observation:

  • Increased Utility of Larger rooms
    • Larger groups can have more friends
    • No additional preference for singles or smaller rooms
problems
Problems
  • Biased Group – groups sought to replicate success in previous round
  • Order of treatments not reversed
  • Suites were homogenous other than size
  • Group too small
    • Stickiness proportional to the number of possible groups
    • In class, approximately 15 students taken 3 at a time = 455 possible combinations
    • 200 students in groups of 5 – 2535650040 possible groups
    • 7 orders of magnitude difference!
what do to next
What do to next
  • Redo Experiment
    • Same set of utilities but assigned to different students in each treatment
    • Increase Complexity
      • Use a larger group of students
      • Increase heterogeneity of rooms using floor maps
      • Use homegrown affinities by letting groups of friends test the system.
        • Utility will be measured by using a questionnaire
    • Convince Pierson College to Accept Our System
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