Blocking Pairs Versus Blocking Students: Stability Comparisons in School Choice

38 Pages Posted: 4 May 2020

See all articles by Battal Doğan

Battal Doğan

Department of Economics, University of Bristol

Lars Ehlers

University of Montreal - Département de Sciences Economiques and CIREQ

Date Written: April 8, 2020

Abstract

It is known that there are school choice problems without an efficient and stable assignment. We consider comparing assignments in terms of their stability by comparing their sets of blocking (student-school) pairs or comparing their sets of blocking students who are involved in at least one blocking pair. Although there always exists a Pareto improvement over the student-optimal stable (DA) assignment which is minimally unstable among efficient assignments when the stability comparison is based on comparing the sets of blocking pairs in the set-inclusion sense, we show that this is not necessarily true when the stability comparison is based on comparing the sets of blocking pairs in the cardinal sense, or when it is based on comparing sets of blocking students (in the set-inclusion or cardinal sense). Given the latter impossibilities, we characterize the priority profiles where there exists a Pareto improvement over the DA mechanism which is cardinally minimally stable among efficient assignments when counting blocking pairs or counting blocking students. The resulting domain restrictions suggest to take with caution school choice analysis which relies on a particular stability comparison method.

Keywords: School choice, stability comparisons, minimal instability, deferred acceptance

JEL Classification: C70, D47, D61, D63

Suggested Citation

Doğan, Battal and Ehlers, Lars, Blocking Pairs Versus Blocking Students: Stability Comparisons in School Choice (April 8, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3571173 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3571173

Battal Doğan (Contact Author)

Department of Economics, University of Bristol ( email )

United Kingdom

Lars Ehlers

University of Montreal - Département de Sciences Economiques and CIREQ ( email )

C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-Ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7
Canada

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