Friday, June 10, 2022

Congratulations to Arthur Lee, on receiving the Anna Laura Myers Prize for Outstanding Honors Thesis

Arthur Lee received the Economics Department's Anna Laura Myers Prize for Outstanding Honors Thesis yesterday, for his thesis on school choice in Singapore:

A Multi-Phase School Choice Mechanism: Theory and Practice by Arthur Lee

Abstract: We study aspects of a multi-phase school choice system used to allocate students to primary schools (first to sixth grade) in Singapore. We first examine the institutional objectives and contextual constraints of the market. Using interviews and public sources, we then present evidence of strategic decision-making by parents, and outline common considerations they face. We then introduce a novel theoretical model of a sequential matching mechanism, and analyze its performance under uncertainty. We find that the sequential nature of the mechanism may permit equilibrium welfare improvements for students when compared to the static Boston Mechanism. However, we also find that in some important respects (e.g. stability of equilibrium outcomes), such a system may be less desirable than a slot-specific Deferred Acceptance mechanism, a variant of Deferred Acceptance that allows for quotas. We use empirical evidence to demonstrate, using a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD) inspired approach, that many parents use prior year’s application information in strategic decision-making. We make partial progress towards additional empirical questions, such as explaining a spike in unassigned students in 2020. Finally, we use our data to provide recommendations for students and parents in their decision-making process.

Congratulations on a fine thesis, Arthur.

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