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Ex Ante Efficiency in School Choice Mechanisms: An Experimental Investigation

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  • Clayton Featherstone
  • Muriel Niederle

Abstract

Criteria for evaluating school choice mechanisms are first, whether truth-telling is sometimes punished and second, how efficient the match is. With common knowledge preferences, Deferred Acceptance (DA) dominates the Boston mechanism by the first criterion and is ambiguously ranked by the second. Our laboratory experiments confirm this. A new ex ante perspective, where preferences are private information, introduces new efficiency costs borne by strategy-proof mechanisms, like DA. In a symmetric environment, truth-telling can be an equilibrium under Boston, and Boston can first-order stochastically dominate DA in terms of efficiency, both in theory and in the laboratory.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14618.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14618

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  1. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun S�nmez, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 368-371, May.
  2. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2013. "School Admissions Reform in Chicago and England: Comparing Mechanisms by Their Vulnerability to Manipulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 80-106, February.
  3. Joana Pais & Agnes Pinter, 2007. "School Choice and Information. An Experimental Study on Matching Mechanisms," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena, University of Siena 018, University of Siena.
  4. M. Utku �nver, 1999. "Backward Unraveling over Time: The Evolution of Strategic Behavior in the Entry-Level British Medical Labor Markets," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999, Society for Computational Economics 1132, Society for Computational Economics.
  5. Fuhito Kojima & Parag A. Pathak, 2009. "Incentives and Stability in Large Two-Sided Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 608-27, June.
  6. C. Nicholas McKinney & Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The Collapse of a Medical Labor Clearinghouse (and Why Such Failures Are Rare)," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 878-889, June.
  7. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2004. "Kidney Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 457-488, May.
  8. Chen, Yan & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2006. "School choice: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 202-231, March.
  9. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sonmez, 2008. "Leveling the Playing Field: Sincere and Sophisticated Players in the Boston Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1636-52, September.
  10. John H. Kagel & Alvin E. Roth, 2000. "The Dynamics Of Reorganization In Matching Markets: A Laboratory Experiment Motivated By A Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 201-235, February.
  11. Roth, Alvin E., 1982. "Incentive compatibility in a market with indivisible goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 127-132.
  12. Aytek Erdil & Haluk Ergin, 2008. "What's the Matter with Tie-Breaking? Improving Efficiency in School Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 669-89, June.
  13. Roth, Alvin E, 1991. "A Natural Experiment in the Organization of Entry-Level Labor Markets: Regional Markets for New Physicians and Surgeons in the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 415-40, June.
  14. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  15. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Moulin, Herve, 2001. "A New Solution to the Random Assignment Problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 295-328, October.
  16. Onur Kesten & M. Utku Ünver, 2010. "A Theory of School-Choice Lotteries," Boston College Working Papers in Economics, Boston College Department of Economics 737, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 29 Jun 2012.
  17. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2009. "Strategy-proofness versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the New York City High School Match," NBER Working Papers 14864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Alvin E. Roth & Uriel G. Rothblum, 1999. "Truncation Strategies in Matching Markets--In Search of Advice for Participants," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 21-44, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Pathak, Parag Abishek & Roth, Alvin E., 2009. "Strategy-Proofness Versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the NYC High School Match," Scholarly Articles 11077572, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Wu, Binzhen & Zhong, Xiaohan, 2014. "Matching mechanisms and matching quality: Evidence from a top university in China," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 196-215.
  3. Troyan, Peter, 2012. "Comparing school choice mechanisms by interim and ex-ante welfare," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 936-947.
  4. Fuhito Kojima & M. Utku Ünver, 2010. "The 'Boston' School-Choice Mechanism," Boston College Working Papers in Economics, Boston College Department of Economics 729, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 08 Oct 2010.
  5. Alexander Westkamp, 2013. "An analysis of the German university admissions system," Economic Theory, Springer, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 561-589, August.
  6. Chen, Yan & Onur, Kesten, 2013. "From Boston to Chinese parallel to deferred acceptance: Theory and experiments on a family of school choice mechanisms," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-205, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  7. Onur Kesten & M. Utku Ünver, 2010. "A Theory of School-Choice Lotteries," Boston College Working Papers in Economics, Boston College Department of Economics 737, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 29 Jun 2012.
  8. He, Yinghua, 2012. "Gaming the Boston School Choice Mechanism in Beijing," TSE Working Papers, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) 12-345, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  9. Fuhito Kojima & M. Ünver, 2014. "The “Boston” school-choice mechanism: an axiomatic approach," Economic Theory, Springer, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 515-544, April.

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