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Gaming the Boston School Choice Mechanism in Beijing

  • He, Yinghua

The Boston mechanism is criticized for its poor incentive and welfare performance compared to the Gale-Shapley deferred-acceptance mechanism (DA). Using school choice data from Beijing, I investigate parents’ behavior under the Boston mechanism, taking into account parents’ possible mistakes when they strategize. Evidence shows that parents are overcautious as they play "safe" strategies too often. Wealthier/more educated parents are less overcautious and perform slightly better because they have better outside options while not being any more adept at strategizing. Parents who are always truth-telling experience a utility gain in switching from the Boston mechanism to the DA, equivalent to a 7.1% decrease in the distance to a school. Among them, 44.2% are better off under the DA, while 35.5% are worse off.

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Paper provided by Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) in its series TSE Working Papers with number 12-345.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:26414
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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. Braun Sebastian & Dwenger Nadja & Kübler Dorothea, 2010. "Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off: An Empirical Study of Centralized University Admissions in Germany," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-38, March.
  3. Sebastian Braun & Nadja Dwenger & Dorothea Kübler, 2007. "Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 759, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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  9. Aradillas-Lopez, Andres, 2012. "Pairwise-difference estimation of incomplete information games," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 168(1), pages 120-140.
  10. 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.
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  12. 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.
  13. Yan Chen & Tayfun Sönmez, 2004. "School Choice: An Experimental Study," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 622, Boston College Department of Economics.
  14. 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.
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