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All About Priorities: No School Choice under the Presence of Bad Schools

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  • Caterina Calsamiglia
  • Antonio Miralles

Abstract

When school choice is implemented it is often implied that parents' preferences will a ffect the school their children attend. The matching literature in school choice shows how the design of the norms that govern the allocation process can have different desirable properties but that no unique mechanism has them all. The literature has ignored a crucial aspect in this process, which is the importance of the priorities that the administration give for the different schools in determining the final allocation. We show that if all individuals agree on what the worse schools are, the two most debated mechanisms, the Boston mechanism and the Gale Shapley (DA), will provide an allocation that fully corresponds to those priorities independently of families' listed preferences. Top Trading Cycles, a third proposal presented in the literature but not implemented yet, improves upon the allocation determined by priorities and therefore is the only responding to parents' preferences. Another interpretation of the results is that if the authorities have some preferences over where families should go to school they can implement them fully through setting priorities accordingly and choosing the Boston or DA mechanisms, which are the two most commonly used mechanisms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 631.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:631

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Keywords: priorities; school choice;

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  1. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sonmez, 2006. "Changing the Boston School Choice Mechanism," NBER Working Papers 11965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2003. "The Economics of School Choice," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number hox03-1, octubre-d.
  3. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2011. "School Admissions Reform in Chicago and England: Comparing Mechanisms by their Vulnerability to Manipulation," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 784, Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sonmez, 2008. "Leveling the Playing Field: Sincere and Sophisticated Players in the Boston Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1636-52, September.
  5. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Smez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," Discussion Papers 0203-18, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  6. Haluk Ergin & Tayfun Sönmez, 2005. "Games of School Choice under the Boston Mechanism," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 619, Boston College Department of Economics.
  7. Aytek Erdil & Haluk Ergin, 2007. "What`s the Matter with Tie-breaking? Improving Efficiency in School Choice," Economics Series Working Papers 349, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. 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.
  9. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 2003. "Introduction to "The Economics of School Choice"," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of School Choice, pages 1-22 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Calsamiglia, Caterina & Guell, Maia, 2014. "The Illusion of School Choice: Empirical Evidence from Barcelona," Working Papers 712, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

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