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Accepted Paper:

Inquiring About School Choice Problems: Between Algorithmic Models, Empirical Situations and Political Standpoints  
Jérémy Grosman (Research Center for Information Law and Society)

Short abstract:

The paper, documenting the evolution of school-choice problems since the 1990s, uncovers ways scientific and ethical knowledge mingle in economic practices. Namely: I suggest that economists' actual involvement in school choice reforms significantly altered their framing of school choice problems.

Long abstract:

The present contribution explores the ways in which scientific and ethical knowledge entangle within economic practices. More concretely: I propose to document how economists have variously framed and reframed school-choice problems between 1990 and 2020. First, an historical review of the relevant scientific literature enables me (i) to uncover trends sketched by specific questions rising and falling into prominence (e.g. algorithms, tie-breakers, fairness, quotas, etc.) as well as (ii) to excavate the main strategies through which economists attempt to gain knowledge about school choice (e.g. accumulating properties, exploring assumptions, reinterpreting results, documenting strategies). Second, a careful analysis of some economists' trajectories suggests they may have come to develop richer political perspectives (i.e. showing greater attention to ordinary moral or political concerns) and pursue slightly different economic questions (i.e. displaying a subtler articulation of social and scientific significance) once involved in actual school choice reforms (e.g. Parag Pathak, Estelle Cantillon). The research invites me to advance two broader claims. Empirically, political perspectives have framed economic problems (i.e. devising metrics and enlarging inquiries' scope) as much as economic problems have framed political perspectives (i.e. formulating objectives and picking algorithms). Philosophically, economic problems and results appear to both be value-laden, in the following non-trivial sense: their significance seem to intimately depend on social, moral or political presuppositions (e.g. stability, envy-freeness, fairness). Thus, the present research, initially triggered by an empirical study on Belgian school choice reforms, hopes to better our understanding of the school choice problems' formation.

Traditional Open Panel P339
Algorithmic market design as provocation for STS studies of the market
  Session 1