School Choice and the Boston Mechanism

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School Choice and the Boston Mechanism

Post  KatieBradford on Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:24 pm

When talking about market theory in class, one area we discussed applications of the marriage matching system was in the Boston Public School system. Unaware of this, because in my hometown the public school you attended was primarily the restult of district lines and not filling out preferences I was interested in reading more about it. This paper talks about the Boston mechanism which was used in assigning students to different schools. It specifically talks about the failures of the program because if a student's parents do not rank a specific school as their first choice, the student loses his or her priority there. This encourages parents not to give "true" preferences, but rather provides incentives to rank schools based on the most likely school the student will qualify to get in. The final claim after looking at Nash equillibrium and other concepts we are familiar with is that transitioning from the current "Boston mechanism" to a "student-optimal stable mechanism" will be able to provide those using the system with "unambiguous efficiency gains". This method would be more direct and effective in pairing students with the best schools that they want to attend.


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