NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Peng Shi

Marshall School of Business, BRI 303D,
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

November 2017How Well Do Structural Demand Models Work? Counterfactual Predictions in School Choice
with Parag A. Pathak: w24017
Discrete choice demand models are widely used for counterfactual policy simulations, yet their out-of-sample performance is rarely assessed. This paper uses a large-scale policy change in Boston to investigate the performance of discrete choice models of school demand. In 2013, Boston Public Schools considered several new choice plans that differ in where applicants can apply. At the request of the mayor and district, we forecast the alternatives' effects by estimating discrete choice models. This work led to the adoption of a plan which significantly altered choice sets for thousands of applicants. Pathak and Shi (2014) update forecasts prior to the policy change and describe prediction targets involving access, travel, and unassigned students. Here, we assess how well these ex ante count...
January 2014Demand Modeling, Forecasting, and Counterfactuals, Part I
with Parag A. Pathak: w19859
There are relatively few systematic comparisons of the ex ante counterfactual predictions from structural models to what occurs ex post. This paper uses a large-scale policy change in Boston in 2014 to investigate the performance of discrete choice models of demand compared to simpler alternatives. In 2013, Boston Public Schools (BPS) proposed alternative zone configurations in their school choice plan, each of which alters the set of schools participants are allowed to rank. Pathak and Shi (2013) estimated discrete choice models of demand using families' historical choices and these demand models were used to forecast the outcomes under alternative plans. BPS, the school committee, and the public used these forecasts to compare alternatives and eventually adopt a new plan for Spring 2014....
 
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