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Applying early decision: Student and college incentives and outcomes

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  • Chapman, Gabrielle
  • Dickert-Conlin, Stacy
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    Abstract

    Colleges’ early decision (ED) admission policies require accepted students to commit to attend the school without comparing outside options. With data from two liberal arts schools we find evidence that students with higher willingness and ability to pay and lower measured ability levels are more likely to apply ED. Applying ED raises the probability of acceptance by 40 percentage points. We address the potential selection of students into ED, including estimating an upper bound of 46 percentage points following Altonji, Elder, and Taber (2005). One college appears to use the ED process to screen applicants with high SAT scores and female applicants, thereby avoiding the potential adverse selection of applicants in the regular decision process. Finally, even conditional on higher socioeconomic status and other observable characteristics, applying ED is correlated with higher financial aid packages, perhaps because the college's financial aid resources are higher earlier in the admission process.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 31 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 749-763

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:31:y:2012:i:5:p:749-763

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

    Related research

    Keywords: Early decision; College admission;

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    References

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    1. Hao Li & Wing Suen, 2000. "Risk Sharing, Sorting, and Early Contracting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 1058-1087, October.
    2. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Daniel R. Sherman, 1984. "Optimal Financial Aid Policies for a Selective University," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(2), pages 202-230.
    3. Monks, James, 2000. "The academic performance of legacies," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 99-104, April.
    4. Jensen, Elizabeth J. & Wu, Stephen, 2010. "Early decision and college performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 517-525, August.
    5. Li, Hao & Rosen, Sherwin, 1998. "Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 371-87, June.
    6. Roth, Alvin E & Xing, Xiaolin, 1994. "Jumping the Gun: Imperfections and Institutions Related to the Timing of Market Transactions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 992-1044, September.
    7. Rothstein, J.M.Jesse M., 2004. "College performance predictions and the SAT," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 297-317.
    8. Robinson, Michael & Monks, James, 2005. "Making SAT scores optional in selective college admissions: a case study," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 393-405, August.
    9. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    10. Christopher Avery & Jonathan Levin, 2010. "Early Admissions at Selective Colleges," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2125-56, December.
    11. Kim, Matthew, 2010. "Early decision and financial aid competition among need-blind colleges and universities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(5-6), pages 410-420, June.
    12. Sam-Ho Lee, 2009. "Jumping The Curse: Early Contracting With Private Information In University Admissions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 1-38, 02.
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    Cited by:
    1. Chen, Wei-Cheng & Kao, Yi-Cheng, 2014. "Simultaneous screening and college admissions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 296-298.

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