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Breaking Ties: Regression Discontinuity Design Meets Market Design

Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Joshua Angrist (), Yusuke Narita () and Parag Pathak
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Atila Abdulkadiroglu: Duke University

Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers from Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University

Abstract: Many schools in large urban districts have more applicants than seats. Centralized school assignment algorithms ration seats at over-subscribed schools using randomly assigned lottery numbers, non-lottery tie-breakers like test scores, or both. The New York City public high school match illustrates the latter, using test scores and other criteria to rank applicants at \screened" schools, combined with lottery tie-breaking at unscreened \lottery" schools. We show how to identify causal e"ects of school attendance in such settings. Our approach generalizes regression discontinuity methods to allow for multiple treatments and multiple running variables, some of which are randomly assigned. The key to this generalization is a local propensity score that quanti"es the school assignment probabilities induced by lottery and non-lottery tie-breakers. The local propensity score is applied in an empirical assessment of the predictive value of New York City's school report cards. Schools that receive a high grade indeed improve SAT math scores and increase graduation rates, though by much less than OLS estimates suggest. Selection bias in OLS estimates is egregious for screened schools.

Keywords: Causal Inference; Natural Experiment; Local Propensity Score; Instrumental Variables; Unified Enrollment; School Report Card; School Value Added (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 66 pages
Date: 2019-03, Revised 2020-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-des and nep-ure
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Related works:
Journal Article: Breaking Ties: Regression Discontinuity Design Meets Market Design (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Breaking Ties: Regression Discontinuity Design Meets Market Design (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Breaking Ties: Regression Discontinuity Design Meets Market Design (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Breaking Ties: Regression Discontinuity Design Meets Market Design (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Breaking Ties: Regression Discontinuity Design Meets Market Design (2019) Downloads
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