The Welfare Effects of Coordinated Assignment: Evidence from the New York City High School Match

Peer-reviewed Publication

Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Nikhil Agarwal, and Parag A. Pathak

December 2017

Coordinated single-offer school assignment systems are a popular education reform. We show that uncoordinated offers in NYC’s school assignment mechanism generated mismatches. One-third of applicants were unassigned after the main round and later administratively placed at less desirable schools. We evaluate the effects of the new coordinated mechanism based on deferred acceptance using estimated student preferences. The new mechanism achieves 80 percent of the possible gains from a no-choice neighborhood extreme to a utilitarian benchmark. Coordinating offers dominates the effects of further algorithm modifications. Students most likely to be previously administratively assigned experienced the largest gains in welfare and subsequent achievement.