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Cognitive Ability and Games of School Choice

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  • Christian, Basteck
  • Marco, Mantovani

Abstract

We take school admission mechanisms to the lab to test whether the manipulable Boston mechanism disadvantages students of lower cognitive ability and whether this leads to ability segregation across schools. Results show this is the case: lower ability participants receive a lower average payoff and are over-represented at the worst school. Under the strategy-proof Deferred Acceptance mechanism, payoff differences between high and low ability participants are reduced, and distributions by ability across schools are harmonized. Hence, we find support for the argument that a move to strategy-proof mechanisms would “level the playing field†. However, we document a trade-off between equality and efficiency in the choice of school admission mechanisms since average payoffs are larger under Boston than under Deferred Acceptance.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian, Basteck & Marco, Mantovani, 2016. "Cognitive Ability and Games of School Choice," Working Papers 343, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 21 Jun 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:343
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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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