Policy implications

Model estimates and policy experiments

  • We estimate a model of school choice and use it to evaluate the effects of proposed policies.
    1. Households try to do their best, but they may make mistakes in their applications if they have incorrect beliefs
    2. We bring together data from our survey and from the school placement process
  • Finding 1: Switching to an assignment mechanism similar to the one used in New York or Boston would improve household satisfaction.


    1. In such a system, households only need to know what they like, not what others are doing.
    2. This makes it easier for households who do not have perfect information to submit their best application.
    3. It would also be helpful to increase the number of schools households can list on an application, especially in kindergarten where there are more schools to choose from.
  • Finding 2:  accounting for possible application mistakes is important in choosing an assignment mechanism.
    1. Our survey data let us analyze the kinds of errors households make in filling out applications.
    2. If we had skipped the survey and just assumed households sent in the best possible application, Finding 1 above would have been reversed.
    3. Policymakers and researchers should take application mistakes into account when studying choice policies in other cities.