“‘Fair’ Quota Allocation and Regional Inequality”

Weiwei Weng, Hong Kong Baptist University

Scarcity of high-quality educational resources tends to coexist with regional economic inequality in a developing country. We theoretically show that assigning school quotas in proportion to regional population size could backfire in serving the goal of equalizing students' access to quality schools with students from the less developed regions being hurt most. Such quota scheme is also shown to be incompatible with schools' incentives. Our lab experiments with 832 participants also demonstrate the robustness of the main findings in a variety of more complex environments that capture the features of real-life admissions systems.