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Responsive affirmative action in school choice

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  • Doğan, Battal

Abstract

School choice programs aim to give students the option to choose their school. At the same time, underrepresented minority students should be favored to close the opportunity gap. A common way to achieve this is to have a majority quota at each school, and to require that no school be assigned more majority students than its majority quota. An alternative way is to reserve some seats at each school for the minority students, and to require that a reserve seat at a school be assigned to a majority student only if no minority student prefers that school to her assignment. However, fair rules based on either type of affirmative action suffer from a common problem: a stronger affirmative action may not benefit any minority student and hurt some minority students. First, we show that this problem is pervasive. Then, we uncover the root of this problem: for some minority students, treating them as minority students does not benefit them, but possibly hurts other minority students. We propose a new assignment rule that treats such minority students as majority students, achieves affirmative action, and never hurts a minority student without benefiting another minority student.

Suggested Citation

  • Doğan, Battal, 2016. "Responsive affirmative action in school choice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 69-105.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:165:y:2016:i:c:p:69-105
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2016.04.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fragiadakis, Daniel & Troyan, Peter, 2017. "Improving matching under hard distributional constraints," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(2), May.
    2. Harless, Patrick, 2014. "A School Choice Compromise: Between Immediate and Deferred Acceptance," MPRA Paper 61417, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    School choice; Affirmative action; Minimal responsiveness;

    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
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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