NBER

Paulo J. Somaini

Stanford Graduate School of Business
Knight Management Center
655 Knight Way E372D
Stanford, CA 94305

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NBER Program Affiliations: IO
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Stanford University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2019Revealed Preference Analysis of School Choice Models
with Nikhil Agarwal: w26568
Preferences for schools are important determinants of equitable access to high-quality education, effects of expanded choice on school improvement and school choice mechanism design. Standard methods for estimating consumer preferences are not applicable in education markets because students do not always get their first choice school. This review describes recently developed methods for using rich data from a school choice mechanism to estimate student preferences. Our objectives are to present a unifying framework for these methods and to help applied researchers decide which techniques to use. After laying out methodological issues, we provide an overview of empirical results obtained using these models and discuss some open questions.

Published: Nikhil Agarwal & Paulo Somaini, 2020. "Revealed Preference Analysis of School Choice Models," Annual Review of Economics, vol 12(1).

February 2019An Empirical Framework for Sequential Assignment: The Allocation of Deceased Donor Kidneys
with Nikhil Agarwal, Itai Ashlagi, Michael A. Rees, Daniel C. Waldinger: w25607
An organ transplant can improve a patient’s life while also realizing substantial savings in healthcare expenditures. Like many other scarce public resources, organs from deceased donors are rationed to patients on a waitlist via a sequential offer mechanism. The theoretical trade-offs in designing these rationing systems are not well understood and depend on agent preferences. This paper establishes an empirical framework for analyzing waitlist systems and applies it to study the allocation of deceased donor kidneys. We model the decision to accept an organ or wait for a more preferable organ as an optimal stopping problem, and develop techniques to compute equilibria of counterfactual mechanisms. Our estimates show that while some types of kidneys are desirable for all patients, there is...
December 2014Demand Analysis using Strategic Reports: An application to a school choice mechanism
with Nikhil Agarwal: w20775
Several school districts use assignment systems that give students an incentive to misrepresent their preferences. We find evidence consistent with strategic behavior in Cambridge. Such strategizing can complicate preference analysis. This paper develops empirical methods for studying random utility models in a new and large class of school choice mechanisms. We show that preferences are non-parametrically identified under either sufficient variation in choice environments or a preference shifter. We then develop a tractable estimation procedure and apply it to Cambridge. Estimates suggest that while 82% of students are assigned to their stated first choice, only 72% are assigned to their true first choice because students avoid ranking competitive schools. Assuming that students behave op...

Published: Nikhil Agarwal & Paulo Somaini, 2018. "Demand Analysis Using Strategic Reports: An Application to a School Choice Mechanism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 86(2), pages 391-444, March. citation courtesy of

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