Self-Selection in School Choice

41 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2016 Last revised: 10 Aug 2018

See all articles by Li Chen

Li Chen

University of Gothenburg - School of Business, Economics and Law

Juan Pereyra

Departamento de Economía. FCS, Universidad de Uruguay

Date Written: August 7, 2018

Abstract

We study self-selection in centralized school choice, a strategy that takes place when students submit preferences before knowing their priorities at schools. A student self-selects if she decides not to apply to some schools despite being desirable. We give a theoretical explanation for this behavior: if a student believes her chances of being assigned to some schools are zero, she may not rank them even when the mechanism is strategyproof. Using data from the Mexico City high school match, we find evidence that self-selection exists, and has redistributive consequences. First, given the same past grade, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to self-select. Second, some students self-select by mistake, and obtain a high priority once the uncertainty is resolved, but nonetheless are not assigned to their most preferred choice exactly because of self-selection. Students from low socioeconomic backgrounds are particularly vulnerable to this type of mistake. These findings question the effectiveness of equal access provided by school choice, and we argue it can be improved by changing the timing of submission.

Keywords: School Choice, Incomplete Information, Self-Selection, Serial Dictatorship Mechanism, Strategyproofness

JEL Classification: C40, C78, D47, D63, I20, I21, I24

Suggested Citation

Chen, Li and Pereyra, Juan, Self-Selection in School Choice (August 7, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2880182 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2880182

Li Chen

University of Gothenburg - School of Business, Economics and Law ( email )

Vasagatan 1, Box 640
Gothenburg, 40530
Sweden

Juan Pereyra (Contact Author)

Departamento de Economía. FCS, Universidad de Uruguay ( email )

Facultad de Ciencias Sociales
Jose E. Rodo 1854
Montevideo 11200, 11200
Uruguay

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/juanspereyrabarreiro/

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