The performance of school assignment mechanisms
Bas van der Klaauw
Theory points to a potential trade-off between two main school assignment
mechanisms; Boston and Deferred Acceptance (DA). While DA is strategyproof
and gives a stable matching, Boston might outperform DA in terms of
ex-ante efficiency. We quantify the (dis)advantages of the mechanisms by using
information about actual choices under Boston complemented with survey
data eliciting studentsí school preferences. We find that under Boston around
8% of the students apply to another school than their most-preferred school.
We compare allocations resulting from Boston with DA with single tie-breaking
(one central lottery; DA-STB) and multiple tie-breaking (separate lottery per
school; DA-MTB). DA-STB places more students in their top-n schools, for
any n, than Boston and results in higher average welfare. We find a trade-off
between DA-STB and DA-MTB. DA-STB places more students in their single
most-preferred school than DA-MTB, but fewer in their top-n, for n >= 2.
Finally, students from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit most from a switch
from Boston to any of the DA mechanisms.
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Last updated: May 29, 2015.