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Research Design Meets Market Design: Using Centralized Assignment for Impact Evaluation

Listed author(s):
  • Abdulkadiroğlu, Atila

    ()

    (Duke University)

  • Angrist, Joshua

    ()

    (MIT)

  • Narita, Yusuke

    ()

    (Yale University)

  • Pathak, Parag A.

    ()

    (MIT)

A growing number of school districts use centralized assignment mechanisms to allocate school seats in a manner that reflects student preferences and school priorities. Many of these assignment schemes use lotteries to ration seats when schools are oversubscribed. The resulting random assignment opens the door to credible quasi-experimental research designs for the evaluation of school effectiveness. Yet the question of how best to separate the lottery-generated variation integral to such designs from non-random preferences and priorities remains open. This paper develops easily-implemented empirical strategies that fully exploit the random assignment embedded in a wide class of mechanisms, while also revealing why seats are randomized at one school but not another. We use these methods to evaluate charter schools in Denver, one of a growing number of districts that combine charter and traditional public schools in a unified assignment system. The resulting estimates show large achievement gains from charter school attendance. Our approach generates efficiency gains over ad hoc methods, such as those that focus on schools ranked first, while also identifying a more representative average causal effect. We also show how to use centralized assignment mechanisms to identify causal effects in models with multiple school sectors.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10429.

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Length: 77 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2016
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10429
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  1. Behaghel, Luc & Crépon, Bruno & Gurgand, Marc, 2013. "Robustness of the Encouragement Design in a Two-Treatment Randomized Control Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 7447, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Yeon-Koo Che & Fuhito Kojima, 2010. "Asymptotic Equivalence of Probabilistic Serial and Random Priority Mechanisms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(5), pages 1625-1672, 09.
  3. Adrienne M. Lucas & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2014. "Effects of School Quality on Student Achievement: Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 234-263, July.
  4. Atila Abdulkadiro?lu & Yeon-Koo Che & Yosuke Yasuda, 2015. "Expanding "Choice" in School Choice," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 1-42, February.
  5. Simon Burgess & Ellen Greaves & Anna Vignoles & Deborah Wilson, 2015. "What Parents Want: School Preferences and School Choice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(587), pages 1262-1289, 09.
  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. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sonmez, 1998. "Random Serial Dictatorship and the Core from Random Endowments in House Allocation Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 689-702, May.
  8. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua D. Angrist & Peter D. Hull & Parag A. Pathak, 2016. "Charters without Lotteries: Testing Takeovers in New Orleans and Boston," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(7), pages 1878-1920, July.
  9. Caterina Calsamiglia & Chao Fu & Maia Güell, 2014. "Structural Estimation of a Model of School Choices: the Boston Mechanism vs. Its Alternatives," Working Papers 811, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  10. Ergin, Haluk & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2006. "Games of school choice under the Boston mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 215-237, January.
  11. Alberto Abadie & Susan Athey & Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2014. "Finite Population Causal Standard Errors," NBER Working Papers 20325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Joshua Angrist & Jinyong Hahn, 2004. "When to Control for Covariates? Panel Asymptotics for Estimates of Treatment Effects," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 58-72, February.
  13. Joshua D. Angrist & Sarah R. Cohodes & Susan M. Dynarski & Parag A. Pathak & Christopher R. Walters, 2016. "Stand and Deliver: Effects of Boston's Charter High Schools on College Preparation, Entry, and Choice," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 275-318.
  14. Howard S. Bloom & Rebecca Unterman, 2014. "Can Small High Schools of Choice Improve Educational Prospects for Disadvantaged Students?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(2), pages 290-319, 03.
  15. Pathak, Parag A. & Sethuraman, Jay, 2011. "Lotteries in student assignment: An equivalence result," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(1), January.
  16. Lars-Gunnar Svensson, 1999. "Strategy-proof allocation of indivisible goods," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 16(4), pages 557-567.
  17. Cristian Pop-Eleches & Miguel Urquiola, 2013. "Going to a Better School: Effects and Behavioral Responses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1289-1324, June.
  18. de Haan, Monique & Gautier, Pieter A. & Oosterbeek, Hessel & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2015. "The Performance of School Assignment Mechanisms in Practice," IZA Discussion Papers 9118, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak, 2011. "Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters And Pilots," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 699-748.
  20. Joshua Angrist & Peter Hull & Parag A. Pathak & Christopher Walters, 2015. "Leveraging Lotteries for School Value-Added: Testing and Estimation," NBER Working Papers 21748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Bing-ru Teh & Moria McCullough & Brian P. Gill, 2010. "Student Achievement in New York City Middle Schools Affiliated with Achievement First and Uncommon Schools," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 9b7646f5c8ae4067840b186c5, Mathematica Policy Research.
  22. Nikhil Agarwal & Paulo Somaini, 2014. "Demand Analysis using Strategic Reports: An application to a school choice mechanism," NBER Working Papers 20775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua Angrist & Parag Pathak, 2014. "The Elite Illusion: Achievement Effects at Boston and New York Exam Schools," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 137-196, 01.
  24. Eduardo M. Azevedo & Jacob D. Leshno, 2016. "A Supply and Demand Framework for Two-Sided Matching Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(5), pages 1235-1268.
  25. Abadie A., 2002. "Bootstrap Tests for Distributional Treatment Effects in Instrumental Variable Models," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 284-292, March.
  26. Vaart,A. W. van der, 2000. "Asymptotic Statistics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521784504, Diciembre.
  27. Imbens,Guido W. & Rubin,Donald B., 2015. "Causal Inference for Statistics, Social, and Biomedical Sciences," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521885881, Diciembre.
  28. repec:mpr:mprres:6698 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Weiwei Hu & Parag A. Pathak, 2013. "Small High Schools and Student Achievement: Lottery-Based Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 19576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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