High school admission reform in China: a welfare analysis

Tong Wang*, Congyi Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


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, but benefits students with higher test scores. Students with lower socioeconomic status benefit more than those with higher socioeconomic status when switching from BM to DA, but when switching from Chinese parallel mechanism to DA, students with higher socioeconomic status benefit more.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-269
Number of pages55
JournalReview of Economic Design
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1


  • Boston mechanism
  • Chinese parallel mechanism
  • Deferred acceptance mechanism, manipulation
  • Matching
  • Welfare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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