Wednesday, July 7, 2021

School choice in Austria, by Greiner and Zednik in Die Presse

 Parents have big strategy sets (and can change the address at which a child is registered) to game the school choice system.

In Die Presse (with the help of Google Translate):

Schulplatzallokation und strategisches Eltern-Verhalten, von Ben Greiner und Anita Zednik

[Allocation of school places and strategic parenting behavior by Ben Greiner and Anita Zednik]

"In Austria, economists have not yet often been involved in the design of allocation mechanisms. But here, too, there are many allocation problems that have room for improvement. One problem is the allocation of school places, both in primary and secondary schools. As a rule, only one school can be named as a preference, and many parents are uncertain whether their child has a good enough chance of being accepted at the most preferred school. As a result, parents often choose a safer school near where they live instead of enrolling their child in their favorite school. However, this uncertainty also leads to dishonest strategic behavior on the part of parents. Some parents change their child's address before registering for school, to secure higher chances of getting a place at your favorite school.


"Dr. Anita Zednik from the Vienna University of Economics and Business presented a study based on Viennese registration data that empirically documents such strategic behavior on the part of parents. Dr. Zednik analyzes the anonymized registration data of more than 300,000 Viennese children between September 2016 and August 2020 and identifies “moving back and forth”, i.e. cases in which a child registered at a different address in Vienna before registering and then returned to the original address after registering


"This strategic behavior also leads to more inequality in the distribution of school places. For children with a migration background and from households in which their parents do not have a university degree, proportionally significantly fewer moves back and forth are observed than for children with Austrian citizenship and from households with higher educational qualifications. The data show that it is time to take a closer look at the Austrian mechanisms for allocating school places. "

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