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A Revealed Preference Ranking of U.S. Colleges and Universities

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  • Christopher N. Avery
  • Mark E. Glickman
  • Caroline M. Hoxby
  • Andrew Metrick

Abstract

We present a method of ranking U.S. undergraduate programs based on students' revealed preferences. When a student chooses a college among those that have admitted him, that college "wins" his "tournament." Our method efficiently integrates the information from thousands of such tournaments. We implement the method using data from a national sample of high-achieving students. We demonstrate that this ranking method has strong theoretical properties, eliminating incentives for colleges to adopt strategic, inefficient admissions policies to improve their rankings. We also show empirically that our ranking is (1) not vulnerable to strategic manipulation; (2) similar regardless of whether we control for variables, such as net cost, that vary among a college's admits; (3) similar regardless of whether we account for students selecting where to apply, including Early Decision. We exemplify multiple rankings for different types of students who have preferences that vary systematically. JEL Codes: I2, I23, C35, D11. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 128 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 425-467

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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2013:i:1:p:425-467

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References

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  1. James Monks & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "The Impact of US News and World Report College Rankings on Admission Outcomes and Pricing Decisions at Selective Private Institutions," NBER Working Papers 7227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Christopher Avery & Caroline Minter Hoxby, 2004. "Do and Should Financial Aid Packages Affect Students' College Choices?," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 239-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. William N. Goetzmann & Sharon Oster, 2012. "Competition Among University Endowments," NBER Working Papers 18173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Machado, Matilde Pinto & Mora, Ricardo & Romero-Medina, Antonio, 2008. "Can We Measure Hospital Quality from Physicians' Choices?," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6850, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Mumcu, Ayse & Saglam, Ismail, 2007. "College Admissions under Early Decision," MPRA Paper 1906, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Chade, H. & Lewis, Gregory & Smith, L., 2014. "Student Portfolios and the College Admissions Problem," Scholarly Articles 12363836, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Katja Maria Kaufmann & Matthias Messner & Alex Solis, 2013. "Returns to Elite Higher Education in the Marriage Market: Evidence from Chile," Working Papers, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University 489, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  6. Benjamin Wirth, 2013. "Ranking German regions using interregional migration - What does internal migration tells us about regional well-being?," ERSA conference papers, European Regional Science Association ersa13p1254, European Regional Science Association.
  7. Matilde P. Machado, & Ricardo Mora & Antonio Romero- Medina, 2006. "A Methodology To Measure Hospital Quality Using Physicians' Choices Over Training Vacancies," Economics Working Papers, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía we060201, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  8. Miguel Portela & Nelson Areal & Carla Sá & Fernando Alexandre & João Cerjeira & Ana Carvalho & Artur Rodrigues, 2007. "Regulation and marketisation in the Portuguese higher education system," NIPE Working Papers, NIPE - Universidade do Minho 11/2007, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  9. E. Han Kim & Min Zhu, 2010. "Universities as Firms: The Case of US Overseas Programs," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: American Universities in a Global Market, pages 163-201 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Pawan Agarwal, 2006. "Higher Education in India - The Need for Change," Development Economics Working Papers 22139, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  11. Moul, Charles C. & Nye, John V.C., 2009. "Did the Soviets collude? A statistical analysis of championship chess 1940-1978," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 10-21, May.

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