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A School Choice Compromise: Between Immediate and Deferred Acceptance

Harless, Patrick (2014): A School Choice Compromise: Between Immediate and Deferred Acceptance.

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School assignment procedures aim to improve student welfare, but must balance efficiency and equity goals and provide incentives for students to report their preferences truthfully. Debate centers largely on two rules: immediate acceptance (IA), the so-called Boston mechanism, and deferred acceptance (DA). IA's strength is efficiency, while DA is touted for its superior strategic properties. Thinking of these as extremes, we advocate a compromise rule, immediate-acceptance-with-skips (IA+), which slightly modifies IA to achieve better strategic properties while retaining efficiency. IA+ proceeds in rounds of applications and, like IA, �finalizes assignments in each round. However, unlike IA or DA, IA+ allows students to "skip" applications to schools with no remaining capacity. We show that IA+ is efficient and less manipulable than IA+. Unfortunately, IA+ violates solidarity properties that both IA and DA satisfy. Considering robustness, we �find that each of the three rules satisfies a different set of three natural invariance properties.

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