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School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach

Atila Abdulkadiroğlu and Tayfun Sönmez
The American Economic Review
Vol. 93, No. 3 (Jun., 2003), pp. 729-747
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3132114
Page Count: 19
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School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach
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Abstract

A central issue in school choice is the design of a student assignment mechanism. Education literature provides guidance for the design of such mechanisms but does not offer specific mechanisms. The flaws in the existing school choice plans result in appeals by unsatisfied parents. We formulate the school choice problem as a mechanism design problem and analyze some of the existing school choice plans including those in Boston, Columbus, Minneapolis, and Seattle. We show that these existing plans have serious shortcomings, and offer two alternative mechanisms each of which may provide a practical solution to some critical school choice issues.

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