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Preference Intensities and Risk Aversion in School Choice: A Laboratory Experiment

  • Flip Klijn
  • Joana Pais and Marc Vorsatz

We experimentally investigate in the laboratory two prominent mechanisms that are employed in school choice programs to assign students to public schools. We study how individual behavior is influenced by preference intensities and risk aversion. Our main results show that (a) the Gale-Shapley mechanism is more robust to changes in cardinal preferences than the Boston mechanism independently of whether individuals can submit a complete or only a restricted ranking of the schools and (b) subjects with a higher degree of risk aversion are more likely to play "safer" strategies under the Gale-Shapley but not under the Boston mechanism. Both results have important implications for the efficiency and the stability of the mechanisms.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 447.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:447
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  1. Frank Heinemann & Rosemarie Nagel & Peter Ockenfels, 2004. "Measuring Strategic Uncertainty in Coordination Games," CESifo Working Paper Series 1364, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Haluk Ergin & Tayfun Sönmez, 2005. "Games of School Choice under the Boston Mechanism," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 619, Boston College Department of Economics.
  3. Caterina Calsamiglia & Guillaume Haeringer & Flip Klijn, 2008. "Constrained School Choice: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 365, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  4. Joana Pais & Ágnes Pintér, 2006. "School Choice and Information An Experimental Study on Matching Mechanisms," Working Papers Department of Economics 2006/14, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
  5. 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.
  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. Barberà, S. & Dutta, B., 1995. "Protective behavior in matching models," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 281-296.
  8. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun S�nmez, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 368-371, May.
  9. 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.
  10. Haeringer, Guillaume & Klijn, Flip, 2009. "Constrained school choice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(5), pages 1921-1947, September.
  11. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2009. "Strategy-Proofness versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the NYC High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1954-78, December.
  12. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  13. Yan Chen & Tayfun Sönmez, 2004. "School Choice: An Experimental Study," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 622, Boston College Department of Economics.
  14. Barbera, Salvador & Dutta, Bhaskar, 1982. "Implementability via protective equilibria," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 49-65, June.
  15. repec:clu:wpaper:0203-18 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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