Centralized College Admissions and Student Composition

62 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2016 Last revised: 30 Sep 2021

See all articles by Cecilia Machado

Cecilia Machado

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV)

Christiane Szerman

Princeton University

Date Written: September 1, 2017


Education markets are increasingly switching to centralized admission systems. However, empirical evidence of the effects of these transitions is scarce. We examine the consequences of introducing centralized admissions in the higher education market in Brazil. Using detailed administrative data, we exploit the staggered adoption of a centralized clearinghouse across institutions to investigate the impacts on student composition. Consistent with lower application frictions and higher competition, we find that centralization is associated with a decline in the share of female students and an increase in the average age of students. We also document that institutions under the centralized assignment attract students from other locations and with higher test scores. We present suggestive evidence that centralization increases stratification of institutions by quality, widening the gap between low and high quality institutions.

Keywords: higher education, centralized matching, application frictions, college admission, student composition, migration, test scores, sorting

JEL Classification: D47, I23, I28

Suggested Citation

Machado, Cecilia and Szerman, Christiane, Centralized College Admissions and Student Composition (September 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract= or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2844131

Cecilia Machado (Contact Author)

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) ( email )

R. Dr. Neto de Araujo 320 cj 1307
Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro 22250-900

Christiane Szerman

Princeton University ( email )

Department of Economics
Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics