High School Admission Reform in China: A Welfare Analysis

Posted: 28 Dec 2018

See all articles by Tong Wang

Tong Wang

Waseda University

Congyi Zhou

New York University

Date Written: November 29, 2018


In recent years, China has experienced a trend of changing from the Boston mechanism (BM) to the Chinese parallel mechanism for high school and college admissions. Using a unique data set from the high-school-assignment system in China that combines survey data eliciting students' school preferences with administrative data that cover students' school choices and admission records under both mechanisms, this paper compares the welfare performance of BM, the Chinese parallel mechanism, and the Deferred Acceptance (DA) mechanism. We find a non-monotonic relationship between the manipulability and efficiency of school choice mechanisms: DA yields significantly higher welfare than the Chinese parallel mechanism and BM, but BM yields higher welfare than Chinese parallel mechanism although not significantly. We also find that switching from BM to Chinese parallel mechanism hurts students regardless of their socioeconomic status. Students put schools they prefer more on all of their ranks under Chinese parallel mechanism than BM, and only students who are admitted by one of their first two choices benefit from the mechanism change.

Keywords: welfare; matching; Boston mechanism; Chinese parallel mechanism; Deferred Acceptance Mechanism, manipulation

Suggested Citation

Wang, Tong and Zhou, Congyi, High School Admission Reform in China: A Welfare Analysis (November 29, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2965329 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2965329

Tong Wang (Contact Author)

Waseda University ( email )

1-104 Totsukamachi, Shinjuku-ku
tokyo, 169-8050

Congyi Zhou

New York University ( email )

19 West 4th Street - 2nd floor
New York, NY 10012
United States
2129988500 (Phone)

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