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Ex Ante Efficiency in School Choice Mechanisms: An Experimental Investigation

  • Clayton Featherstone
  • Muriel Niederle

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14618.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14618
Note: ED LS
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  1. Aytek Erdil & Haluk Ergin, 2007. "What`s the Matter with Tie-breaking? Improving Efficiency in School Choice," Economics Series Working Papers 349, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Alvin E. Roth & Uriel G. Rothblum, 1999. "Truncation Strategies in Matching Markets--In Search of Advice for Participants," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 21-44, January.
  3. McKinney, C. Nicholas & Niederle, Muriel & Roth, Alvin, 2005. "The collapse of a medical labor clearinghouse (and why such failures are rare)," Scholarly Articles 2570404, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  5. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun S�nmez, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 368-371, May.
  6. Roth, Alvin E, 1991. "A Natural Experiment in the Organization of Entry-Level Labor Markets: Regional Markets for New Physicians and Surgeons in the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 415-40, June.
  7. John H. Kagel & Alvin E. Roth, 2000. "The Dynamics Of Reorganization In Matching Markets: A Laboratory Experiment Motivated By A Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 201-235, February.
  8. 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 1636-52, September.
  9. Chen, Yan & Sonmez, Tayfun, 2006. "School choice: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 202-231, March.
  10. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Moulin, Herve, 2001. "A New Solution to the Random Assignment Problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 295-328, October.
  11. M. Utku �nver, 1999. "Backward Unraveling over Time: The Evolution of Strategic Behavior in the Entry-Level British Medical Labor Markets," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1132, Society for Computational Economics.
  12. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2011. "School Admissions Reform in Chicago and England: Comparing Mechanisms by their Vulnerability to Manipulation," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 784, Boston College Department of Economics.
  13. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sonmez & M. Utku Unver, 2003. "Kidney Exchange," NBER Working Papers 10002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Roth, Alvin E., 1982. "Incentive compatibility in a market with indivisible goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 127-132.
  15. Kesten, Onur & Ünver, M. Utku, 2015. "A theory of school choice lotteries," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(2), May.
  16. Joana Pais & Agnes Pinter, 2007. "School Choice and Information. An Experimental Study on Matching Mechanisms," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 018, University of Siena.
  17. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2009. "Strategy-proofness versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the New York City High School Match," NBER Working Papers 14864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Fuhito Kojima & Parag A. Pathak, 2009. "Incentives and Stability in Large Two-Sided Matching Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 608-27, June.
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