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Effective affirmative action in school choice

  • Yenmez, M. Bumin

    ()

    (Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University)

  • Yildirim, Muhammed Ali

    ()

    (Center for International Development, Harvard University)

  • Hafalir, Isa Emin

    ()

    (Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University)

The prevalent affirmative action policy in school choice limits the number of admitted majority students to give minority students higher chances to attend their desired schools. There have been numerous efforts to reconcile affirmative action policies with celebrated matching mechanisms such as the deferred acceptance and top trading cycles algorithms. Nevertheless, it is theoretically shown that under these algorithms, the policy based on majority quotas may be detrimental to minorities. Using simulations we find that this is a more common phenomenon rather than a peculiarity-up to 25% of minorities and 55% of majorities can be worse off. To circumvent the inefficiency caused by majority quotas, we offer a different interpretation of the affirmative action policies based on minority reserves. With minority reserves, schools give higher priority to minority students up to the point that the minorities fill the reserves. We compare the welfare effects of these policies. The deferred acceptance algorithm with minority reserves Pareto dominates the one with majority quotas. Our simulations, which allows for correlations between student preferences and school priorities, indicate that minorities are on average better off with minority reserves while adverse effects on majorities are mitigated.

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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 8 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:1135
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econtheory.org

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  1. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Smez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," Discussion Papers 0203-18, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  2. Ruth Mart?ez & Jordi MassóAuthor-Email: jordi.masso@uab.es & Alejandro Neme & Jorge Oviedo, 2003. "On group strategy-proof mechanisms for a many-to-one matching model," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 577.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  3. Kesten, Onur & Ünver, M. Utku, 0. "A theory of school choice lotteries," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society.
  4. Yan Chen & Tayfun Sönmez, 2004. "School Choice: An Experimental Study," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 622, Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. Lars Ehlers & Isa Hafalir & Bumin Yenmez & Muhammed Yildirim, 2011. "School Choice with Controlled Choice Constraints: Hard Bounds versus Soft Bounds," GSIA Working Papers 2012-E20, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  6. Balinski, Michel & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "A Tale of Two Mechanisms: Student Placement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-94, January.
  7. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 364-367, May.
  8. EHLERS, Lars, 2010. "School Choice with Control," Cahiers de recherche 13-2010, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  9. Guillaume Haeringer & Flip Klijn, 2006. "Constrained School Choice," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 671.06, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC), revised 02 Dec 2008.
  10. 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.
  11. Fryer, Roland, 2009. "Implicit Quotas," Scholarly Articles 2940155, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1993. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 99-103, May.
  13. Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2009. "Matching, Allocation, and Exchange of Discrete Resources," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 717, Boston College Department of Economics.
  14. Sönmez, Tayfun & Pathak, Parag A. & Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," Scholarly Articles 2562764, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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