Cognitive Ability and Games of School Choice

51 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2016

See all articles by Christian Basteck

Christian Basteck

Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin)

Marco Mantovani

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS); Facultés Universitaires Saint Louis à Bruxelles - CEREC

Date Written: June 21, 2016

Abstract

We take school admission mechanisms to the lab to test whether the manipulable Boston mechanism disadvantages students of lower cognitive ability and whether this leads to ability segregation across schools. Results show this is the case: lower ability participants receive a lower average payoff and are over-represented at the worst school. Under the strategy-proof Deferred Acceptance mechanism, payoff differences between high and low ability participants are reduced, and distributions by ability across schools are harmonized. Hence, we find support for the argument that a move to strategy-proof mechanisms would “level the playing field”. However, we document a trade-off between equality and efficiency in the choice of school admission mechanisms since average payoffs are larger under Boston than under Deferred Acceptance.

Keywords: Laboratory Experiment, School Choice, Strategy-Proofness, Cognitive Ability, Mechanism Design

JEL Classification: C78, C91, D82, I24

Suggested Citation

Basteck, Christian and Mantovani, Marco, Cognitive Ability and Games of School Choice (June 21, 2016). University of Milan Bicocca Department of Economics, Management and Statistics Working Paper No. 343. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2798709 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2798709

Christian Basteck

Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) ( email )

Straße des 17
Juni 135
Berlin, 10623
Germany

Marco Mantovani (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milan, 20126
Italy

Facultés Universitaires Saint Louis à Bruxelles - CEREC ( email )

Brussels, 1000
Belgium
+32 2 7923551 (Phone)

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