Paulo J. Somaini

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

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
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 2019Equilibrium Allocations under Alternative Waitlist Designs: Evidence from Deceased Donor Kidneys
with Nikhil Agarwal, Itai Ashlagi, Michael A. Rees, Daniel C. Waldinger: w25607
Waitlists are often used to ration scarce resources, but the trade-offs in designing these mechanisms depend on agents preferences. We study equilibrium allocations under alternative designs for the deceased donor kidney waitlist. We model the decision to accept an organ or wait for a preferable one as an optimal stopping problem and estimate preferences using administrative data from the New York City area. Our estimates show that while some kidney types are desirable for all patients, there is substantial match-specific heterogeneity in values. We then develop methods to evaluate alternative mechanisms, comparing their effects on patient welfare to an equivalent change in donor supply. Past reforms to the kidney waitlist primarily resulted in redistribution, with similar welfare and orga...
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

NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us