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Using Theory, Markets and Experimental Methods to Improve a Complex Administrative Decision Process: School Transportation for Disadvantaged Students

Plott, Charles R. and Stoneham, Gary and Lee, Hsing Yang and Maron, Travis (2021) Using Theory, Markets and Experimental Methods to Improve a Complex Administrative Decision Process: School Transportation for Disadvantaged Students. Social Science Working Paper, 1448. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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The paper studies structural inefficiencies of administrative decisions demonstrated in an example from the growing government service sector. The provision of school transportation to disadvantaged children touches social concerns and regulations related to classical conditions of limited competition. The decision process is partitioned into key economic functions related to the challenges faced by the government when dealing with environments in which theory predicts market failures. Theories drawn from public choice theory and theories of auctions suggest policy changes that were experimentally tested in the challenging environment. Field data demonstrate the new processes produced improved allocations. Subsequent laboratory tests demonstrate the success can be attributed to the principles used in the theory and demonstrate a robust link connecting efficient behaviors observed in laboratory experiments and behaviors found in field events.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Plott, Charles R.0000-0001-8363-3628
Additional Information:The financial support of The Rising Tide Foundation and The John Templeton Foundation are gratefully acknowledged. The tireless efforts of governmental and educational personnel who enthusiastically supplied their vast knowledge of institutional details of the problems faced by children, families, and institutions dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged students must be acknowledged and admired. Special acknowledgement is extended to Han Seo for his contribution to the route logistics model. The technical support of the Caltech Laboratory for Experimental Economics and Political Science made the project possible as was the assistance of Jacqueline Lodman. The auction implementation team consisting of David Brooks, Veronika Nemes and Amy Corman from the University of Melbourne are acknowledged for their assistance in preparing for and hosting the auction event.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Rising Tide FoundationUNSPECIFIED
John Templeton FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1448
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220209-170304115
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113342
Deposited By: Mary Martin
Deposited On:09 Feb 2022 17:26
Last Modified:09 Feb 2022 17:26

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