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Effective affirmative action in school choice

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Author Info

  • Yenmez, M. Bumin

    ()
    (Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University)

  • Yildirim, Muhammed Ali

    ()
    (Center for International Development, Harvard University)

  • Hafalir, Isa Emin

    ()
    (Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University)

Abstract

The prevalent affirmative action policy in school choice limits the number of admitted majority students to give minority students higher chances to attend their desired schools. There have been numerous efforts to reconcile affirmative action policies with celebrated matching mechanisms such as the deferred acceptance and top trading cycles algorithms. Nevertheless, it is theoretically shown that under these algorithms, the policy based on majority quotas may be detrimental to minorities. Using simulations we find that this is a more common phenomenon rather than a peculiarity-up to 25% of minorities and 55% of majorities can be worse off. To circumvent the inefficiency caused by majority quotas, we offer a different interpretation of the affirmative action policies based on minority reserves. With minority reserves, schools give higher priority to minority students up to the point that the minorities fill the reserves. We compare the welfare effects of these policies. The deferred acceptance algorithm with minority reserves Pareto dominates the one with majority quotas. Our simulations, which allows for correlations between student preferences and school priorities, indicate that minorities are on average better off with minority reserves while adverse effects on majorities are mitigated.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 8 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:1135

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Related research

Keywords: School choice; affirmative action; deferred acceptance algorithm; top trading cycles algorithm;

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References

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  1. Lars Ehlers & Isa Hafalir & Bumin Yenmez & Muhammed Yildirim, 2011. "School Choice with Controlled Choice Constraints: Hard Bounds versus Soft Bounds," GSIA Working Papers 2012-E21, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  2. Guillaume Haeringer & Flip Klijn, 2008. "Constrained School Choice," Working Papers 294, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1993. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 99-103, May.
  4. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Yeon-Koo Che & Yosuke Yasuda, 2011. "Resolving Conflicting Preferences in School Choice: The "Boston Mechanism" Reconsidered," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 399-410, February.
  5. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
  6. Pathak, Parag A. & Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," Scholarly Articles 2562765, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Balinski, Michel & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "A Tale of Two Mechanisms: Student Placement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-94, January.
  8. EHLERS, Lars, 2010. "School Choice with Control," Cahiers de recherche 2010-05, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  9. Yan Chen & Tayfun Sönmez, 2004. "School Choice: An Experimental Study," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 622, Boston College Department of Economics.
  10. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun S�nmez, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 368-371, May.
  11. Fryer, Roland, 2009. "Implicit Quotas," Scholarly Articles 2940155, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Lars Ehlers & Isa Hafalir & Bumin Yenmez & Muhammed Yildirim, 2011. "School Choice with Controlled Choice Constraints: Hard Bounds versus Soft Bounds," GSIA Working Papers 2012-E21, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  2. Umut M. Dur & Scott Duke Kominers & Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2013. "The Demise of Walk Zones in Boston: Priorities vs. Precedence in School Choice," NBER Working Papers 18981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Flip Klijn & Joana Pais & Marc Vorsatz, 2014. "Affirmative Action through Minority Reserves: An Experimental Study on School Choice," Working Papers 752, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  4. Alexander Westkamp, 2013. "An analysis of the German university admissions system," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 561-589, August.
  5. Goto, Masahiro & Iwasaki, Atsushi & Kawasaki, Yujiro & Yasuda, Yosuke & Yokoo, Makoto, 2014. "Improving Fairness and Efficiency in Matching with Distributional Constraints: An Alternative Solution for the Japanese Medical Residency Match," MPRA Paper 53409, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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