Sunday, July 24, 2022

School choice in Amsterdam: a counterfactual analysis

 Forthcoming in the JPE (It looks like the refereeing process worked its magic on this paper, whose first version was distributed in 2015...):

Haan, Monique De, Pieter Gautier, Hessel Oosterbeek, and Bas Van der Klaauw. "The performance of school assignment mechanisms in practice." 

This is the author’s accepted manuscript without copyediting, formatting, or final corrections. It will be published in its final form in an upcoming issue of Journal of Political Economy, published by The University of Chicago Press. Include the DOI when citing or quoting:  Copyright 2022 The University of Chicago Press.

Abstract: "We use a unique combination of register and survey data from Amsterdam to investigate the performance of school assignment mechanisms in practice. We find that Deferred Acceptance (DA) results in higher mean welfare than the adaptive Boston mechanism. This is due to students making strategic mistakes. The welfare gain o fa switch from actual Boston to DA is over 90 percent of the welfare difference be-tween actual Boston and optimal (proxy) Boston. Disadvantaged and lower ability students would benefit most from such a switch."

"We contribute to the existing literature by complementing register data of the actual choices of secondary-school students in Amsterdam with survey information from the same students. Students’ actual choices reveal their behavior under the Amsterdam version of the Boston mechanism, where students apply in the first round to one school and ties are broken by lotteries. The survey asks students to rank schools according to their true preferences. For each of the ranked schools, the survey asks students to give preference points that reflect the valuation of these schools relative to the valuation of their most-preferred school. The data enable us to (i) quantify the welfare differences between Boston and DA without making strong assumptions about beliefs and choice behavior,(ii) identify the students who are revealed-strategic under the manipulable mechanism,(iii) identify which students make mistakes in their application choices, separately for students who are revealed-strategic and those who are not, (iv) investigate what type of students are hurt (the most) by making suboptimal choices under the Boston mechanism, and (v) quantify the welfare gain of Boston without mistakes (optimal Boston) relative to actual Boston and DA."

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