Preference Submission Timing and College Admission Outcomes: Evidence from Turkey
48 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2021 Last revised: 27 Jan 2022
Date Written: January 26, 2022
This paper studies the effects of reducing information uncertainty on matching outcomes in a college choice setting. Turkey reformed its college admissions in 1999, changing the preference submission process for four-year programs from pre-exam to post-exam submission, both under the constrained Deferred Acceptance mechanism. A conceptual framework illustrates that the reform improved matching stability in two ways: (i) fewer programs with unfilled seats, (ii) more assortative matching between students and programs, i.e. higher cutoff ranks for more highly ranked programs. Results from a difference-in-differences strategy confirm such predictions and find that the reform led to less undercapacity among lower ranked programs and stronger assortative matching between high-achieving students and highly ranked programs. That said, we find some suggestive evidence that the post-exam submission may have hurt the ex-ante fairness. Finally, the reform led to more female students being enrolled in four-year programs.
Keywords: College admission, matching stability, post-exam submission, Deferred Acceptance mechanism, Turkey
JEL Classification: C78, D82, I23, I28
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