Reducing Frictions in College Admissions: Evidence from the Common Application

Bravo Working Paper # 2020-001

48 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2020

See all articles by Brian G. Knight

Brian G. Knight

Brown University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Nathan Schiff

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics - School of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 30, 2019

Abstract

College admissions is decentralized, creating frictions that limit student choice. We study the Common Application (CA) platform, under which students submit a single application to member schools, reducing frictions and increasing student choice. Joining the CA increases the number of applications received by schools, reflecting a reduction in frictions. Joining also reduces the yield on accepted students, reflecting increased choice. The CA also increases out-of-state enrollment, especially from other CA states, consistent with network effects. Finally, joining the CA increases freshmen SAT scores. Given that CA members tend to be selective, the CA has contributed to stratification in higher education.

Suggested Citation

Knight, Brian G. and Schiff, Nathan, Reducing Frictions in College Admissions: Evidence from the Common Application (August 30, 2019). Bravo Working Paper # 2020-001 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3526995 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3526995

Brian G. Knight (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Nathan Schiff

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics - School of Economics ( email )

777 Guoding Road
Shanghai, 200433
China

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