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A Theory of School-Choice Lotteries

Onur Kesten () and Utku Unver
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Onur Kesten: Carnegie Mellon University

No 737, Boston College Working Papers in Economics from Boston College Department of Economics

Abstract: A new centralized mechanism was introduced in New York City and Boston to assign students to public schools in district school-choice programs. This mechanism was advocated for its superior fairness property, besides others, over the mechanisms it replaced. In this paper, we introduce a new framework for investigating school-choice matching problems and two ex-ante notions of fairness in lottery design, strong ex-ante stability and ex-ante stability. This frame- work generalizes known one-to-many two-sided and one-sided matching models. We first show that the new NYC/Boston mechanism fails to satisfy these fairness properties. We then propose two new mechanisms, the fractional deferred-acceptance mechanism, which is ordinally Pareto dominant within the class of strongly ex-ante stable mechanisms, and the fractional deferred- acceptance and trading mechanism, which satisfies equal treatment of equals and constrained ordinal Pareto efficiency within the class of ex-ante stable mechanisms.

Keywords: Matching; School Choice; Deferred Acceptance; Stability; Ordinal Efficiency; Market Design (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C71 C78 D71 D78 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-gth, nep-hpe, nep-lab and nep-ure
Date: 2010-05-01, Revised 2012-06-29
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