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Bidding for Army Career Specialties: Improving the ROTC Branching Mechanism

Tayfun Sönmez
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 121, No. 1 (February 2013), pp. 186-219
DOI: 10.1086/669915
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/669915
Page Count: 34
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Bidding for Army Career Specialties: Improving the ROTC Branching Mechanism
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Abstract

Motivated by the low retention rates of US Military Academy and Reserve Officer Training Corps graduates, the Army recently introduced incentives programs in which cadets could bid 3 years of additional service obligation to obtain higher priority for their desired branches. The full potential of this incentives program is not utilized because of the ROTC’s deficient matching mechanism. I propose a design that eliminates these shortcomings and mitigates several policy problems the Army has identified. In contrast to the ROTC mechanism, my design utilizes market principles more extensively, and it is a hybrid between a market mechanism and a priority-based allocation mechanism.

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