School choice: A mechanism design approach

Abdulkadiroglu, Atila; Sönmez, Tayfun

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.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Department of Economics, Columbia University
Department of Economics Discussion Papers, 0203-18
Published Here
March 24, 2011


July 2003