Ex Ante Efficiency in School Choice Mechanisms: An Experimental Investigation

38 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2009 Last revised: 29 Jan 2009

See all articles by Clayton Featherstone

Clayton Featherstone

Stanford University - Department of Economics

Muriel Niederle

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 2008

Abstract

Criteria for evaluating school choice mechanisms are first, whether truth-telling is sometimes punished and second, how efficient the match is. With common knowledge preferences, Deferred Acceptance (DA) dominates the Boston mechanism by the first criterion and is ambiguously ranked by the second. Our laboratory experiments confirm this. A new ex ante perspective, where preferences are private information, introduces new efficiency costs borne by strategy-proof mechanisms, like DA. In a symmetric environment, truth-telling can be an equilibrium under Boston, and Boston can first-order stochastically dominate DA in terms of efficiency, both in theory and in the laboratory.

Suggested Citation

Featherstone, Clayton and Niederle, Muriel, Ex Ante Efficiency in School Choice Mechanisms: An Experimental Investigation (December 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14618. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1327239

Clayton Featherstone

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States

Muriel Niederle (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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