### Sepehr Ekbatani

###### Welcome,

I am an economist with research interests in Applied Microeconomics and Labor Economics. I am a fifth year PhD student at University of California, Los Angeles. I received my MSc and BSc from Sharif University of Technology in Economics and Electrical Engineering.

I will be on the job market in 2019-2020 and available for interviews at the ASSA Meetings in San Diego and also the CEEE Meetings in Toronto.

Job Market Paper: "The Cost of Strategic Play in Centralized School Choice Mechanisms".

###### Abstract

This paper evaluates the welfare costs induced by limiting the number of choices in deferred acceptance mechanisms. I show that when the number of choices is capped, some students have to be strategic and that increasing the size of the submittable list can result in better matches, and therefore lead to welfare improvement. I use Iranian college entrance dataset to estimate a novel discrete choice model for centralized university systems, in which I relax the independence of unobserved preference shocks assumption. I validate the model with out-of-sample data from a quasi-experimental policy change, in which the list cap was increased by 50 percent. In my counterfactual analysis, I calculate that a list cap of 10 choices instead of 100 would incur a 14.2 percent welfare loss. This is equivalent to a 453 km increase in the home-university distance, which is 2.6 times the average distance traveled by Iranian students. I also show that a more restrictive list cap does not affect students at the top and bottom of the ranking, but hurts students with average scores and benefits students in the lower quartile.