School Choice in a Market Environment: Individual versus Social Expectations

Catalina Canals, Eric Goles, Aldo Mascareño, Sergio Rica, Gonzalo A. Ruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


School choice is a key factor connecting personal preferences (beliefs, desires, and needs) and school offer in education markets. While it is assumed that preferences are highly individualistic forms of expectations by means of which parents select schools satisfying their internal moral standards, this paper argues that a better matching between parental preferences and school offer is achieved when individuals take into account their relevant network vicinity, thereby constructing social expectations regarding school choice. We develop two related models (individual expectations and social expectations) and prove that they are driven by a Lyapunov function, obtaining that both models converge to fixed points. Also, we assess their performance by conducting computational simulations. While the individual expectations model shows a probabilistic transition and a critical threshold below which preferences concentrate in a few schools and a significant amount of students is left unattended by the school offer, the social expectations model presents a smooth dynamics in which most of the schools have students all the time and no students are left out. We discuss our results considering key topics of the empirical research on school choice in educational market environments and conclude that social expectations contribute to improve information and lead to a better matching between school offer and parental preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3793095
StatePublished - 2018


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