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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. Pathak, Parag A. & Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," Scholarly Articles 2562765, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Chen, Yan & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2006. "School choice: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 202-231, March.
  3. Ehlers, Lars & Hafalir, Isa E. & Yenmez, M. Bumin & Yildirim, Muhammed A., 2014. "School choice with controlled choice constraints: Hard bounds versus soft bounds," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 648-683.
  4. Fryer, Roland, 2009. "Implicit Quotas," Scholarly Articles 2940155, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. 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).
  6. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
  7. EHLERS, Lars, 2010. "School Choice with Control," Cahiers de recherche 2010-05, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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. Onur Kesten & M. Utku Ünver, 2010. "A Theory of School-Choice Lotteries," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 737, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 29 Jun 2012.
  12. Sönmez, Tayfun & Pathak, Parag A. & Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," Scholarly Articles 2562764, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Balinski, Michel & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "A Tale of Two Mechanisms: Student Placement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-94, January.
  14. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1993. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 99-103, May.
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