Research Design Meets Market Design: Using Centralized Assignment for Impact Evaluation

61 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2015

See all articles by Atila Abdulkadiroglu

Atila Abdulkadiroglu

Duke University - Department of Economics

Joshua D. Angrist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Yusuke Narita

Yale University - Department of Economics; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Parag A. Pathak

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2015

Abstract

A growing number of school districts use centralized assignment mechanisms to allocate school seats in a manner that reflects student preferences and school priorities. Many of these assignment schemes use lotteries to ration seats when schools are oversubscribed. The resulting random assignment opens the door to credible quasi-experimental research designs for the evaluation of school effectiveness. Yet the question of how best to separate the lottery-generated variation integral to such designs from non-random preferences and priorities remains open. This paper develops easily-implemented empirical strategies that fully exploit the random assignment embedded in the widely-used deferred acceptance mechanism and its variants. We use these methods to evaluate charter schools in Denver, one of a growing number of districts that integrate charter and traditional public schools in a unified assignment system. The resulting estimates show large achievement gains from charter school attendance. Our approach expands the scope for impact evaluation by maximizing the number of students and schools that can be studied using random assignment. We also show how to use DA to identify causal effects in models with multiple school sectors.

Suggested Citation

Abdulkadiroglu, Atila and Angrist, Joshua and Narita, Yusuke and Pathak, Parag A., Research Design Meets Market Design: Using Centralized Assignment for Impact Evaluation (November 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21705. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2687854

Atila Abdulkadiroglu (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Joshua Angrist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-353
Cambridge, MA 02142
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617-253-8909 (Phone)
617-253-1330 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
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Yusuke Narita

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

Yale University - Cowles Foundation ( email )

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Parag A. Pathak

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-391
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

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