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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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