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The price of admission: Who gets into private school, and how much do they pay?

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  • Walton, Nina
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    Abstract

    I analyze how elementary and secondary private schools decide which students to admit from their applicant pool using mechanism design theory. The problem for an individual private school of who to admit and how much to charge in tuition, is complicated by the existence of peer-effects: the value students place on attending school is increasing with the average ability of the entire class at that school. This feature, coupled with the fact that students can always attend public school for free, places constraints on the types of classes the private school can admit. In my model, students have an ability type that is known to the school through testing, as well as a wealth type that is private information. Students report their wealth to the school and on the basis of the results from the ability test and wealth reports, the school institutes an allocation rule and a payment rule. Allocation rules which only admit all high ability students and no others, or all high wealth students and no others are not feasible. I utilize a simple example to show how in a revenue-maximizing allocation, the private school always under-admits the highest ability students relative to the allocation rule that maximizes social welfare.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 5 (October)
    Pages: 738-750

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:5:p:738-750

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

    Related research

    Keywords: Private schools Admissions Tuition Mechanism design;

    References

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    1. Alejandro Gaviria & Steven Raphael, 2001. "School-Based Peer Effects And Juvenile Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 257-268, May.
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    3. Gordon Winston & David Zimmerman, 2004. "Peer Effects in Higher Education," NBER Chapters, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 395-424 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    8. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
    9. Holger Sieg & Dennis Epple & Richard Romano, 2003. "Peer effects, financial aid and selection of students into colleges and universities: an empirical analysis," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 501-525.
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    16. Hakkinen, Iida & Kirjavainen, Tanja & Uusitalo, Roope, 2003. "School resources and student achievement revisited: new evidence from panel data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 329-335, June.
    17. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
    18. Goethals, G. & Winston, G. & Zimmerman, D., 1999. "Students Educating Students: The Emerging Role of Peer Effects in Higher Education," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-50, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    19. Marlow, Michael L., 1999. "Spending, school structure, and public education quality. Evidence from California," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 89-106, February.
    20. Townsend, Robert M, 1982. "Optimal Multiperiod Contracts and the Gain from Enduring Relationships under Private Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1166-86, December.
    21. Henderson, Vernon & Mieszkowski, Peter & Sauvageau, Yvon, 1978. "Peer group effects and educational production functions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 97-106, August.
    22. Rothschild, Michael & White, Lawrence J, 1995. "The Analytics of the Pricing of Higher Education and Other Services in Which the Customers Are Inputs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 573-86, June.
    23. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Dills, Angela K., 2005. "Does cream-skimming curdle the milk? A study of peer effects," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 19-28, February.
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    Cited by:
    1. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2009. "Public Subsidies to Private Schools Do Make a Difference for Achievement in Mathematics: Longitudinal Evidence from Canada," Cahiers de recherche 0935, CIRPEE.

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