Impact Evaluation in Matching Markets with General Tie-Breaking

48 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2018

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

Date Written: December 2017

Abstract

Many centralized matching schemes incorporate a mix of random lottery and non-lottery tie-breaking. A leading example is the New York City public school district, which uses criteria like test scores and interviews to generate applicant rankings for some schools, combined with lottery tie-breaking at other schools. We develop methods that identify causal effects of assignment in such settings. Our approach generalizes the standard regression discontinuity design to allow for many running variables and treatments, some of which are randomly assigned. We show that lottery variation generates assignment risk at non-lottery programs for applicants away from non-lottery cutoffs, while non-lottery variation randomizes applicants near cutoffs regardless of lottery risk. These methods are applied to evaluate New York City’s school progress assessments, which give schools letter grades as a summary measure of quality. Our estimates reveal that although Grade A schools boost achievement, these gains emerge only for students who attend lottery schools. Attendance at a coveted Grade A screened school, including some of the highest performing in the district, generates no measurable effects. Evaluation methods that fail to take advantage of both lottery and non-lottery variation miss this difference in impact.

Suggested Citation

Abdulkadiroglu, Atila and Angrist, Joshua and Narita, Yusuke and Pathak, Parag A., Impact Evaluation in Matching Markets with General Tie-Breaking (December 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w24172. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3097952

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
United States
617-253-8909 (Phone)
617-253-1330 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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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