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College admissions in China: A mechanism design perspective

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  • Zhu, Min

Abstract

This paper justifies the evolution of the college admissions system in China from a mechanism design perspective. The sequential choice algorithm and the parallel choice algorithm used in the context of China's college admissions system are formulated as the well-studied Boston mechanism and the Simple Serial Dictatorship mechanism. We review both theoretical and experimental mechanism design literature in similar assignment problems. Studies show that the Boston mechanism does not eliminate justified envy, is not strategy-proof and is not Pareto-efficient. The Simple Serial Dictatorship mechanism eliminates justified envy, is strategy-proof and is Pareto-efficient, thus outperforming the Boston mechanism in all three criteria. This result provides justification for the transition in recent years from the sequential choice algorithm to the parallel choice algorithm in China's college admissions practices.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhu, Min, 2014. "College admissions in China: A mechanism design perspective," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 618-631.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:30:y:2014:i:c:p:618-631
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2013.08.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Ran I. Shorrer & Sandor Sovago, 2017. "Obvious Mistakes in a Strategically Simple College Admissions Environment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-107/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Kang, Lili & Peng, Fei & Zhu, Yu, 2018. "Returns to higher education subjects and tiers in China - Evidence from the China Family Panel Studies," GLO Discussion Paper Series 238, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. Shu-Heng Chen & Connie Houning Wang & Weikai Chen, 2017. "Matching Impacts of School Admission Mechanisms: An Agent-Based Approach," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 43(2), pages 217-241, March.
    4. Andre Veski & Kaire Põder, 2016. "Strategies in the Tallinn School Choice Mechanism," Research in Economics and Business: Central and Eastern Europe, Tallinn School of Economics and Business Administration, Tallinn University of Technology, vol. 8(1).
    5. Adam Kapor & Mohit Karnani & Christopher Neilson, 2019. "Negative Externalities of Off Platform Options and the Efficiency of Centralized Assignment Mechanisms," Working Papers 635, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Huang, Bin & Zhu, Yu, 2020. "Higher Education Expansion, the Hukou System, and Returns to Education in China," IZA Discussion Papers 12954, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Pu, Yun, 2021. "College admissions in three Chinese provinces: Boston mechanism vs. deferred acceptance mechanism," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    8. Ha, Wei & Kang, Le & Song, Yang, 2020. "College matching mechanisms and matching stability: Evidence from a natural experiment in China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 206-226.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    College admissions in China; Mechanism design; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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