September 2016

IZA DP No. 10251: Centralized Admission and the Student-College Match

Cecilia Machado, Christiane Szerman

Decentralized assignments in the education market have been increasingly replaced by centralized ones. However, empirical evidence on these transitions are scarce. This paper examines the adoption of centralized admissions in the Brazilian higher education market. Using rich administrative data, we exploit time variation in the adoption of a clearinghouse across institutions to investigate its impact on student sorting, migration and enrollment. We find that institutions under the centralized assignment are able to attract students with substantially higher test scores and that geographical mobility of admitted students increases. While there are no sizable effects on final enrollment rates, search is intensified. Overall, our findings indicate positive impacts of centralization on the college market.