Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=601105
 
 

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A Revealed Preference Ranking of U.S. Colleges and Universities


Christopher Avery


Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Mark E. Glickman


Boston University - Department of Health Services

Caroline M. Hoxby


Stanford University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Hoover Institution; Stanford University

Andrew Metrick


Yale School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

December 2005

NBER Working Paper No. W10803

Abstract:     
We show how to construct a ranking of U.S. undergraduate programs based on students' revealed preferences. We construct examples of national and regional rankings, using hand-collected data on 3,240 high-achieving students. Our statistical model extends models used for ranking players in tournaments, such as chess or tennis. When a student makes his matriculation decision among colleges that have admitted him, he chooses which college "wins" in head-to-head competition. The model exploits the information contained in thousands of these wins and losses. Our method produces a ranking that would be difficult for a college to manipulate. In contrast, it is easy to manipulate the matriculation rate and the admission rate, which are the common measures of preference that receive substantial weight in highly publicized college rating systems. If our ranking were used in place of these measures, the pressure on colleges to practice strategic admissions would be relieved. We show how to deal with tuition discounts, alumni preferences, early decision programs, specialty schools, and similar issues.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 52

JEL Classification: I2, C11, C25

working papers series





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Date posted: October 11, 2004  

Suggested Citation

Avery, Christopher and Glickman, Mark E. and Hoxby, Caroline M. and Metrick, Andrew, A Revealed Preference Ranking of U.S. Colleges and Universities (December 2005). NBER Working Paper No. W10803. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=601105 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.601105

Contact Information

Christopher Avery (Contact Author)
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-4063 (Phone)
617-496-1722 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Mark E. Glickman
Boston University - Department of Health Services ( email )
EN Rogers Mem Hospital
200 Springs Rd (152)
Bedford, MA 01730
United States
(781) 687-2875 (Phone)
(781) 687-3106 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.glicko.net/
Caroline M. Hoxby
Stanford University ( email )
Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Hoover Institution ( email )
Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
Stanford University ( email )
Department of Economics
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650-725-8719 (Phone)
650-725-5702 (Fax)
Andrew Metrick
Yale School of Management ( email )
135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States
(203)-432-3069 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://mba.yale.edu/faculty/profiles/metrick.shtml

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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