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Protecting Unsophisticated Applicants in School Choice through Information Disclosure

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  • Christian, Basteck
  • Marco, Mantovani

Abstract

Unsophisticated applicants can be at a disadvantage under manipulable and hence strategically demanding school choice mechanisms. Disclosing information on applications in previous admission periods makes it easier to asses the chances of being admitted at a particular school, and hence may level the playing field between applicants who differ in their cognitive ability. We test this conjecture experimentally for the widely used Boston mechanism. Results show that, absent this information, there exist a substantial gap between subjects of higher and lower cognitive ability, resulting in significant differences in payoffs, and ability segregation across schools. The treatment is effective in improving applicants’ strategic performance. However, because both lower and higher ability subjects improve when they have information about past demands, the gap between the two groups shrinks only marginally, and the instrument fails at levelling the playing field.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian, Basteck & Marco, Mantovani, 2016. "Protecting Unsophisticated Applicants in School Choice through Information Disclosure," Working Papers 342, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 16 Jun 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:342
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pais, Joana & Pintér, Ágnes, 2008. "School choice and information: An experimental study on matching mechanisms," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 303-328, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Giovanna Devetag, 2003. "Coordination and Information in Critical Mass Games: An Experimental Study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(1), pages 53-73, June.
    4. Flip Klijn & Joana Pais & Marc Vorsatz, 2013. "Preference intensities and risk aversion in school choice: a laboratory experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(1), pages 1-22, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Basteck & Marco Mantovani, 2016. "Cognitive Ability and Games of School Choice," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2016-037, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    laboratory experiment; school choice; strategy-proofness; cognitive ability; mechanism design;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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