Transparency and Fairness in School Choice Mechanisms
75 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2019
Date Written: August 2019
This article explores the impact of procedural information on the behavior of applicants under two of the most commonly used school admissions procedures: the Gale-Shapley mechanism and the Boston mechanism. In a lab experiment, I compare the impact of information about the mechanism, information about individually optimal application strategies, and information about both. I find that strategic and full information increase truth-telling and stability under the Gale-Shapley mechanism. Under the Boston mechanism, however, the adoption of equilibrium strategies remains unaffected. Contrary to prevailing assumptions in matching theory, I show that the Boston mechanism improves perceived fairness. These results underscore the importance of procedural information and suggest that eliminating justified envy may not be a sufficient condition of fairness.
Keywords: matching markets, school choice, transparency, fairness, law and market design
JEL Classification: C78, C92, D47, I20, K10
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