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Self-selection in school choice

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  • Chen, Li
  • Sebastián Pereyra, Juan

Abstract

We study self-selection in centralized school choice, a strategy that takes place when students submit preferences before knowing their priorities at schools. A student self-selects if she decides not to apply to some schools despite being desirable. We give a theoretical explanation for this behavior: if a student believes her chances of being assigned to some schools are zero, she may not rank them even when the mechanism is strategyproof. Using data from the Mexico City high school match, we find evidence that self-selection exists and exposes students especially from low socio-economic backgrounds to strategic mistakes. Correcting these mistakes leads to an increase in participation of students from low socio-economic backgrounds. These findings question the effectiveness of equal access provided by school choice, and we argue it can be improved by changing the timing of submission.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Li & Sebastián Pereyra, Juan, 2019. "Self-selection in school choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 59-81.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:117:y:2019:i:c:p:59-81
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2019.06.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    School choice; Incomplete information; Self-selection; Serial dictatorship mechanism; Strategyproofness;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D47 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Market Design
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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