MATCHINEQ- The unequal impact of matching students with schools
School choice programs allow students (and their parents) to select a school of their preference in an attempt to improve access to high-quality education. As school capacities are limited, it is not possible to assign every student to their most preferred choice. Therefore, it is important to define a mechanism for student assignments. There is little evidence on the impact that these mechanisms have on equal access to quality education. The way in which they are implemented could hurt socially disadvantaged groups for several reasons. For example, it could reduce the options available for disadvantaged students if schools are able to select students. Moreover, misinformation about the rules, or limited resources to apply and hold out for the best options, could disproportionally harm students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. These are featured frequently across many different school choice settings without a clear understanding of the consequences in terms of educational outcomes and inequality. Our team proposes a project in which we will analyze education programs that aim to improve outcomes among the socially disadvantaged. We will study how the characteristics of the allocation system impact educational outcomes for different socioeconomic groups both in compulsory and higher education. We will use and extend structural econometric models to study student behavior, which will allow us to study some of the determinants of social inequality and to simulate outcomes under alternative matching policies.