Let G be a bipartite graph where every node has a strict ranking of its neighbors. For any node, its preferences over neighbors extend naturally to preferences over matchings. A maximum matching M in G is a popular max-matching if for any maximum matching N in G, the number of nodes that prefer M is at least the number that prefer N. Popular max-matchings always exist in G and they are relevant in applications where the size of the matching is of higher priority than node preferences. Here we assume there is also a cost function on the edge set. So what we seek is a min-cost popular max-matching. Our main result is that such a matching can be computed in polynomial time.

We show a compact extended formulation for the popular max-matching polytope and the algorithmic result follows from this. In contrast, it is known that the popular matching polytope has near-exponential extension complexity and finding a min-cost popular matching is NP-hard.