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Cognitive Ability and Games of School Choice

Listed author(s):
  • Christian, Basteck
  • Marco, Mantovani

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.

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File URL: http://dems.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper343.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 343.

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Length: 51
Date of creation: 21 Jun 2016
Date of revision: 21 Jun 2016
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:343
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  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. Christian Basteck & Marco Mantovani, 2016. "Protecting unsophisticated applicants in school choice through information disclosure," WIDER Working Paper Series 065, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sonmez, 2008. "Leveling the Playing Field: Sincere and Sophisticated Players in the Boston Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1636-1652, September.
  4. Calsamiglia, Caterina & Güell, Maia, 2014. "The Illusion of School Choice: Empirical Evidence from Barcelona," IZA Discussion Papers 8202, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2013. "School Admissions Reform in Chicago and England: Comparing Mechanisms by Their Vulnerability to Manipulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 80-106, February.
  6. 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.
  7. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 368-371, May.
  8. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez, 2006. "Changing the Boston School Choice Mechanism," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 639, Boston College Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Caterina Calsamiglia & Francisco Martínez-Mora & Antonio Miralles, 2015. "School Choice Mechanisms, Peer Effects and Sorting," Discussion Papers in Economics 15/01, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
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