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Responsive Affirmative Action in School Choice

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  • Battal Dogan

Abstract

School choice programs aim to give students the option to choose their school. At the same time, underrepresented minority students should be favored to close the opportunity gap. A common way to achieve this is to have a majority quota at each school, and to require that no school be assigned more majority students than its majority quota. An alternative way is to reserve some seats at each school for the minority students, and to require that a reserve seat at a school be assigned to a majority student only if no minority student prefers that school to her assignment. However, fair rules based on either type of affirmative action suffer from a common problem: a stronger affirmative action may not benefit any minority student and hurt some minority students. First, we show that this problem is pervasive: the problem disappears only if the minority students "mostly" have priority over the majority students. Then, we uncover the root of this problem: for some minority students, treating them as minority students does not benefit them, but possibly hurts other minority students. We propose a new assignment rule (Modified deferred acceptance with minority reserves), which treats such minority students as majority students, achieves affirmative action, and never hurts a minority student without benefiting another minority student.

Suggested Citation

  • Battal Dogan, 2015. "Responsive Affirmative Action in School Choice," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 15.02, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
  • Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:15.02
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    Cited by:

    1. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Unver & M. Bumin Yenmez, 2020. "Leaving No Ethical Value Behind: Triage Protocol Design for Pandemic Rationing," NBER Working Papers 26951, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Parag A. Pathak & Alex Rees-Jones & Tayfun Sönmez, 2020. "Immigration Lottery Design: Engineered and Coincidental Consequences of H-1B Reforms," NBER Working Papers 26767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver & M. Bumin Yenmez, 2020. "Fair Allocation of Vaccines, Ventilators and Antiviral Treatments: Leaving No Ethical Value Behind in Health Care Rationing," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 1015, Boston College Department of Economics.
    4. Harless, Patrick, 2014. "A School Choice Compromise: Between Immediate and Deferred Acceptance," MPRA Paper 61417, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Fragiadakis, Daniel & Troyan, Peter, 2017. "Improving matching under hard distributional constraints," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(2), May.
    6. Eun Jeong Heo & Sunghoon Hong & Youngsub Chun, 0. "Kidney exchange with immunosuppressants," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 0, pages 1-19.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    school choice; affirmative action; minimal responsiveness;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D47 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Market Design
    • 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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