Experimental Economics

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 670–686 | Cite as

Not quite the best response: truth-telling, strategy-proof matching, and the manipulation of others

  • Pablo Guillen
  • Rustamdjan HakimovEmail author
Original Paper


Following the advice of economists, school choice programs around the world have lately been adopting strategy-proof mechanisms. However, experimental evidence presents a high variation of truth-telling rates for strategy-proof mechanisms. We crash test the connection between the strategy-proofness of the mechanism and truth-telling. We employ a within-subjects design by making subjects take two simultaneous decisions: one with no strategic uncertainty and one with some uncertainty and partial information about the strategies of other players. We find that providing information about the out-of-equilibrium strategies played by others has a negative and significant effect on truth-telling rates. That is, most participants in our within-subjects design try and fail to best-respond to changes in the environment. We also find that more sophisticated subjects are more likely to play the dominant strategy (truth-telling) across all the treatments. These results have potentially important implications for the design of markets based on strategy-proof matching mechanisms.


School choice Top trading cycles Strategy-proofness Experiments Matching 



We are grateful to Dorothea Kübler, Frank Heinemann, Bettina Klaus and Glenn Harrison for their kind comments and support; to Nina Bonge for helping us programming the experiments and conducting the sessions; and to Jennifer Rontganger for the copy editing.

Supplementary material

10683_2016_9505_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (483 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 483 kb)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.WZB, Berlin Social Science CenterBerlinGermany

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