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Resolving Conflicting Preferences in School Choice: The "Boston Mechanism" Reconsidered

Author

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  • Atila Abdulkadiroglu
  • Yeon-Koo Che
  • Yosuke Yasuda

Abstract

Despite its widespread use, the Boston mechanism has been criticized for its poor incentive and welfare performances compared to the Gale-Shapley deferred acceptance algorithm (DA). By contrast, when students have the same ordinal preferences and schools have no priorities, we find that the Boston mechanism Pareto dominates the DA in ex ante welfare, that it may not harm but rather benefit participants who may not strategize well, and that, in the presence of school priorities, the Boston mechanism also tends to facilitate greater access than the DA to good schools for those lacking priorities at those schools. (JEL D82, I21, I28)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:1:p:399-410
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.1.399
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Aytek Erdil & Haluk Ergin, 2008. "What's the Matter with Tie-Breaking? Improving Efficiency in School Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 669-689, June.
    2. 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 1636-1652, September.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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