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Ex Ante Efficiency in School Choice Mechanisms: An Experimental Investigation

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  • Clayton Featherstone
  • Muriel Niederle

Abstract

Criteria for evaluating school choice mechanisms are first, whether truth-telling is sometimes punished and second, how efficient the match is. With common knowledge preferences, Deferred Acceptance (DA) dominates the Boston mechanism by the first criterion and is ambiguously ranked by the second. Our laboratory experiments confirm this. A new ex ante perspective, where preferences are private information, introduces new efficiency costs borne by strategy-proof mechanisms, like DA. In a symmetric environment, truth-telling can be an equilibrium under Boston, and Boston can first-order stochastically dominate DA in terms of efficiency, both in theory and in the laboratory.

Suggested Citation

  • Clayton Featherstone & Muriel Niederle, 2008. "Ex Ante Efficiency in School Choice Mechanisms: An Experimental Investigation," NBER Working Papers 14618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14618
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Westkamp, 2013. "An analysis of the German university admissions system," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 53(3), pages 561-589, August.
    2. Fuhito Kojima & M. Ünver, 2014. "The “Boston” school-choice mechanism: an axiomatic approach," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 55(3), pages 515-544, April.
    3. Caterina Calsamiglia & Chao Fu & Maia Güell, 2014. "Structural Estimation of a Model of School Choices: the Boston Mechanism vs. Its Alternatives," Working Papers 2014-21, FEDEA.
    4. Troyan, Peter, 2012. "Comparing school choice mechanisms by interim and ex-ante welfare," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 936-947.
    5. repec:eee:gamebe:v:110:y:2018:i:c:p:71-89 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2009. "Strategy-Proofness versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the NYC High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1954-1978, December.
    7. He, Yinghua, 2012. "Gaming the Boston School Choice Mechanism in Beijing," TSE Working Papers 12-345, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    8. Chen, Yan & Onur, Kesten, 2013. "From Boston to Chinese parallel to deferred acceptance: Theory and experiments on a family of school choice mechanisms," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-205, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    9. Jaimie W. Lien & Jie Zheng & Xiaohan Zhong, 2016. "Preference submission timing in school choice matching: testing fairness and efficiency in the laboratory," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 116-150, March.
    10. Kesten, Onur & Ünver, M. Utku, 2015. "A theory of school choice lotteries," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(2), May.
    11. Lien, Jaimie W. & Zheng, Jie & Zhong, Xiaohan, 2017. "Ex-ante fairness in the Boston and serial dictatorship mechanisms under pre-exam and post-exam preference submission," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 98-120.
    12. Wu, Binzhen & Zhong, Xiaohan, 2014. "Matching mechanisms and matching quality: Evidence from a top university in China," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 196-215.
    13. Afacan, Mustafa Oǧuz, 2016. "Enrollment manipulations in school choice," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 119-125.
    14. Harless, Patrick, 2014. "A School Choice Compromise: Between Immediate and Deferred Acceptance," MPRA Paper 61417, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Fuhito Kojima & M. Utku Ünver, 2010. "The 'Boston' School-Choice Mechanism," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 729, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 08 Oct 2010.
    16. repec:eee:gamebe:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:212-239 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Yinghua He & Antonio Miralles & Marek Pycia & Jianye Yan, 2018. "A Pseudo-Market Approach to Allocation with Priorities," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 272-314, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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