Special Issue "Matching with Distributional Constraints or Objectives"

A special issue of Games (ISSN 2073-4336). This special issue belongs to the section "Market Design and Auctions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Szilvia Pápai
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics, Concordia University, Montréal, QC, Canada
Interests: matching theory; market design; axiomatic resource allocation; coalition formation; social choice

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Many markets where agents are matched to entities require that we impose some distributional constraints—for instance, a minimum enrollment may be necessary to be able to offer a course. For other matching markets, it may be desirable to take into account distributional objectives in order to enhance the efficiency or fairness of the resulting allocation, for example, to increase the number of medical doctors at rural hospitals. The distributional policy may simply restrict the number of agents matched to specific entities or sets of entities on the other side of the market, such as when positions are assigned based on regional caps, or they may concern different types of agents, such as with affirmative action or equitable practices. Need-based scholarships in university admissions, prioritizing students who live within the walk zone of a school and offering priority treatment to refugees from emergency zones are further examples of matching with type-specific restrictions.

Distributional and priority treatments of all kinds may be based on reserved positions at entities or groups of entities which need to be filled, or are prioritized to be filled, either in general or with certain types of agents, or the preferences of entities may be modified to reflect priorities and realize distributional objectives. Real-life applications with both soft and hard bounds, with minimum or maximum individual, regional or group quotas, with diversity considerations or various priority policies abound. All these diverse settings are connected through distributional requirements or objectives, guided by different principles that may be specific to each matching market, which are important to meet for a variety of fundamental reasons, including feasibility, efficiency, and fairness, among others.

This is a relatively new strand within the matching theory and market design literature. Following a few influential early papers, the numerous matching markets for which distributional considerations are relevant or even crucial have motivated a wealth of recent studies, demonstrating that this is an active and attractive area of research. This Special Issue aims to take advantage of the current momentum and publish further studies on theoretical and practical matching design issues with distributional aspects. I am pleased to invite contributions to this dynamic and growing literature, either original research articles or review papers that address this subject matter using primarily theoretical and experimental market design approaches. Papers may settle existing questions or raise new ones, pursue general theoretical problems or analyze the specifics of a particular market, offer new designs and solutions, analyze trade-offs, or highlight pitfalls or paradoxes. The overall aim is to bring further insights to this field, build toward a more nuanced as well as more unified understanding of the design issues involved, and inspire new ideas and future research. 

Dr. Szilvia Pápai
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Games is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • matching
  • market design
  • distributional constraints
  • controlled choice
  • affirmative action
  • reserves
  • priority treatment
  • diversity constraints
  • maximum and minimum quotas
  • hard and soft bounds

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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