CFDP 2056

Publication Date: December, 2016


In centralized school admissions systems, rationing at oversubscribed schools often uses lotteries in addition to preferences. This partly random assignment is used by empirical researchers to identify the effect of entering a school on outcomes like test scores. This paper formally studies if the two most popular empirical research designs successfully extract a random assignment. For a class of data-generating mechanisms containing those used in practice, I show: One research design extracts a random assignment under a mechanism if and almost only if the mechanism is strategy-proof for schools. In contrast, the other research design does not necessarily extract a random assignment under any mechanism.

Keywords: Matching Market Design, Natural Experiment, Program Evaluation, Random Assignment, Quasi-Experimental Research Design, School Effectiveness