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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

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    Cited by:

    1. Basteck, Christian & Mantovani, Marco, 2018. "Cognitive ability and games of school choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 156-183.
    2. Hanaki, Nobuyuki & Hayashi, Takashi & Lombardi, Michele & Ogawa, Kazuhito, 2021. "Partial equilibrium mechanism and inter-sectoral coordination: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 190(C), pages 366-389.
    3. Greg Leo & Jian Lou & Martin Van der Linden & Yevgeniy Vorobeychik & Myrna Wooders, 2021. "Matching soulmates," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 23(5), pages 822-857, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    laboratory experiment; school choice; strategy-proofness; cognitive ability; mechanism design;
    All these keywords.

    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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