NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Umut M. Dur

North Carolina State University
College of Management

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

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2016Explicit vs. Statistical Preferential Treatment in Affirmative Action: Theory and Evidence from Chicago's Exam Schools
with Parag A. Pathak, Tayfun Sönmez: w22109
Affirmative action schemes must confront the tension between admitting the highest scoring applicants and ensuring diversity. In Chicago's affirmative action system for exam schools, applicants are divided into one of four socioeconomic tiers based on the characteristics of their neighborhood. Applicants can be admitted to a school either through a slot reserved for their tier or through a merit slot. Equity considerations motivate equal percentage reserves for each tier, but there is a large debate on the total size of these reserve slots relative to merit slots. An issue that has received much less attention is the order in which slots are processed. Since the competition for merit slots is influenced directly by the allocation to tier slots, equal size reserves are not sufficient to ...
April 2013The Demise of Walk Zones in Boston: Priorities vs. Precedence in School Choice
with Scott Duke Kominers, Parag A. Pathak, Tayfun Sönmez: w18981
School choice plans in many cities grant students higher priority for some (but not all) seats at their neighborhood schools. This paper demonstrates how the precedence order, i.e. the order in which different types of seats are filled by applicants, has quantitative effects on distributional objectives comparable to priorities in the deferred acceptance algorithm. While Boston's school choice plan gives priority to neighborhood applicants for half of each school's seats, the intended effect of this policy is lost because of the precedence order. Despite widely held impressions about the importance of neighborhood priority, the outcome of Boston's implementation of a 50-50 school split is nearly identical to a system without neighborhood priority. We formally establish that either increasi...
 
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