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A Theory of School-Choice Lotteries

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  • Onur Kesten

    (Carnegie Mellon University)

  • M. Utku Ünver

    (Boston College)

Abstract

A new centralized mechanism was introduced in New York City and Boston to assign students to public schools in district school-choice programs. This mechanism was advocated for its superior fairness property, besides others, over the mechanisms it replaced. In this paper, we introduce a new framework for investigating school-choice matching problems and two ex-ante notions of fairness in lottery design, strong ex-ante stability and ex-ante stability. This frame- work generalizes known one-to-many two-sided and one-sided matching models. We first show that the new NYC/Boston mechanism fails to satisfy these fairness properties. We then propose two new mechanisms, the fractional deferred-acceptance mechanism, which is ordinally Pareto dominant within the class of strongly ex-ante stable mechanisms, and the fractional deferred- acceptance and trading mechanism, which satisfies equal treatment of equals and constrained ordinal Pareto efficiency within the class of ex-ante stable mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:737
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Matching; School Choice; Deferred Acceptance; Stability; Ordinal Efficiency; Market Design;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • 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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