IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Affirmative Action and the Quality-Fit Trade-Off

Listed author(s):
  • Peter Arcidiacono
  • Michael Lovenheim

This paper reviews the literature on affirmative action in undergraduate education and law schools, focusing especially on the trade-off between institutional quality and the fit between a school and a student. We discuss the conditions under which affirmative action for underrepresented minorities (URM) could help or harm their educational outcomes. We provide descriptive evidence on the extent of affirmative action in law schools, as well as a critical review of the contentious literature on how affirmative action affects URM law-school student performance. Our review then discusses affirmative action in undergraduate admissions, focusing on the effects such admissions preferences have on college quality, graduation rates, college major, and earnings. We conclude by examining the evidence on "percent plans" as a replacement for affirmative action. ( JEL I23, I26, I28, J15, J31, J44, K10)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jel.54.1.3
Download Restriction: no

File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/jel/ds/5401/jel.54.1.3_ds.zip
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.

Volume (Year): 54 (2016)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 3-51

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:54:y:2016:i:1:p:3-51
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.54.1.3
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/journal
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Jesse Rothstein & Albert H. Yoon, 2007. "Affirmative Action in Law School Admissions: What Do Racial Preferences Do?," Working Papers 20, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Education Research Section..
  2. Braz Camargo & Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner, 2010. "Interracial Friendships in College," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 861-892, October.
  3. Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn C, 1993. "Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1220-1240, December.
  4. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2010. "Why Have College Completion Rates Declined? An Analysis of Changing Student Preparation and Collegiate Resources," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 129-157, July.
  5. Judith Scott-Clayton, 2011. "On Money and Motivation: A Quasi-Experimental Analysis of Financial Incentives for College Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(3), pages 614-646.
  6. Marc Luppino & Richard Sander, 2015. "College major peer effects and attrition from the sciences," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-23, December.
  7. Mark Hoekstra, 2009. "The Effect of Attending the Flagship State University on Earnings: A Discontinuity-Based Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 717-724, November.
  8. Bound, John & Turner, Sarah, 2007. "Cohort crowding: How resources affect collegiate attainment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 877-899, June.
  9. Cortes, Kalena E., 2010. "Do bans on affirmative action hurt minority students? Evidence from the Texas Top 10% Plan," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 1110-1124, December.
  10. Patrick J. Bayer & Peter Arcidiacono & Aurel Hizmo, 2010. "Web Appendix: Beyond Signaling and Human Capital: Education and the Revelation of Ability," Working Papers 10-52, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  11. Ben Backes, 2012. "Do Affirmative Action Bans Lower Minority College Enrollment and Attainment?: Evidence from Statewide Bans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 435-455.
  12. Jessica S. Howell, 2010. "Assessing the Impact of Eliminating Affirmative Action in Higher Education," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 113-166, January.
  13. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & Andrew Hussey & Kenneth Spenner, 2013. "Racial Segregation Patterns in Selective Universities," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 1039-1060.
  14. Andrews, Rodney J. & Ranchhod, Vimal & Sathy, Viji, 2010. "Estimating the responsiveness of college applications to the likelihood of acceptance and financial assistance: Evidence from Texas," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 104-115, February.
  15. David Neumark & Harry Holzer, 2000. "Assessing Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 483-568, September.
  16. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2012. "Learning about Academic Ability and the College Dropout Decision," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 707-748.
  17. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2011. "Math or Science? Using Longitudinal Expectations Data to Examine the Process of Choosing a College Major," NBER Working Papers 16869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Caroline Hoxby & Christopher Avery, 2013. "The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 44(1 (Spring), pages 1-65.
  19. Andrews, Rodney & Li, Jing & Lovenheim, Michael F., 2014. "Heterogeneous paths through college: Detailed patterns and relationships with graduation and earnings," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 93-108.
  20. Kate L. Antonovics & Richard H. Sander, 2013. "Affirmative Action Bans and the "Chilling Effect"," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 252-299.
  21. Kalena E. Cortes, 2010. "Do Bans on Affirmative Action Hurt Minority Students? Evidence from the Texas Top 10% Plan," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 10-168, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  22. Christopher Cotton & Brent R. Hickman & Joseph P. Price, 2014. "Affirmative Action and Human Capital Investment: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 20397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Peter Arcidiacono & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2010. "Does The River Spill Over? Estimating The Economic Returns To Attending A Racially Diverse College," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 537-557, July.
  24. Cullen, Julie Berry & Long, Mark C. & Reback, Randall, 2013. "Jockeying for position: Strategic high school choice under Texas' top ten percent plan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 32-48.
  25. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527.
  26. Jimmy Chan & Erik Eyster, 2003. "Does Banning Affirmative Action Lower College Student Quality?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 858-872, June.
  27. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
  28. Lehmann, Jee-Yeon, 2011. "Job assignment and promotion under statistical discrimination: evidence from the early careers of lawyers," MPRA Paper 33466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  29. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano & Holger Sieg, 2008. "Diversity and Affirmative Action in Higher Education," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(4), pages 475-501, August.
  30. Arcidiacono, Peter & Aucejo, Esteban M. & Hotz, V. Joseph, 2016. "University differences in the graduation minorities in STEM fields: evidence from California," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64178, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  31. Lott Jr., John R. & Ramseyer, J. Mark & Standen, Jeffrey, 2011. "Peer effects in affirmative action: Evidence from law student performance," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-15, March.
  32. Maria D. Fitzpatrick & Damon Jones, 2012. "Higher Education, Merit-Based Scholarships and Post-Baccalaureate Migration," NBER Working Papers 18530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban M. Aucejo & Hanming Fang & Kenneth I. Spenner, 2011. "Does affirmative action lead to mismatch? A new test and evidence," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(3), pages 303-333, November.
  34. Sarah R. Cohodes & Joshua S. Goodman, 2014. "Merit Aid, College Quality, and College Completion: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship as an In-Kind Subsidy," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 251-285, October.
  35. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban M. Aucejo & V. Joseph Hotz, 2016. "University Differences in the Graduation of Minorities in STEM Fields: Evidence from California," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 525-562, March.
  36. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
  37. David L. Sjoquist & John V. Winters, 2015. "State Merit-Based Financial Aid Programs And College Attainment," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 364-390, June.
  38. Seth D. Zimmerman, 2014. "The Returns to College Admission for Academically Marginal Students," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(4), pages 711-754.
  39. Basit Zafar, 2011. "How Do College Students Form Expectations?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 301-348.
  40. Andrew Schotter & Keith Weigelt, 1992. "Asymmetric Tournaments, Equal Opportunity Laws, and Affirmative Action: Some Experimental Results," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 511-539.
  41. Peter Arcidiacono & Cory Koedel, 2014. "Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 20-57, July.
  42. Thomas J. Espenshade & Chang Y. Chung & Joan L. Walling, 2004. "Admission Preferences for Minority Students, Athletes, and Legacies at Elite Universities-super-," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1422-1446.
  43. Calsamiglia, Caterina & Franke, Jörg & Rey-Biel, Pedro, 2013. "The incentive effects of affirmative action in a real-effort tournament," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 15-31.
  44. Kate Antonovics & Ben Backes, 2014. "The Effect of Banning Affirmative Action on College Admissions Policies and Student Quality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(2), pages 295-322.
  45. Peter Hinrichs, 2012. "The Effects of Affirmative Action Bans on College Enrollment, Educational Attainment, and the Demographic Composition of Universities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 712-722, August.
  46. Baker, Sara & Mayer, Adalbert & Puller, Steven L., 2011. "Do more diverse environments increase the diversity of subsequent interaction? Evidence from random dorm assignment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 110-112, February.
  47. Hinrichs, Peter, 2014. "Affirmative action bans and college graduation rates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 43-52.
  48. Lockwood Reynolds, C., 2012. "Where to attend? Estimating the effects of beginning college at a two-year institution," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 345-362.
  49. Peter Arcidiacono & Patrick Bayer & Aurel Hizmo, 2010. "Beyond Signaling and Human Capital: Education and the Revelation of Ability," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 76-104, October.
  50. Kane, Thomas J & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Labor-Market Returns to Two- and Four-Year College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 600-614, June.
  51. Long Mark C, 2010. "Affirmative Action at Nearby Colleges: Temporal and Regional Changes," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-31, July.
  52. Black, Dan A. & Smith, J.A.Jeffrey A., 2004. "How robust is the evidence on the effects of college quality? Evidence from matching," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 99-124.
  53. Lars Kirkebøen & Edwin Leuven & Magne Mogstad, 2014. "Field of Study, Earnings, and Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 20816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  54. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric R. Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "Does It Pay to Attend an Elite Private College? Cross-Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Type on Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 104-123.
  55. Long, Mark C., 2010. "Changes in the returns to education and college quality," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 338-347, June.
  56. Mark C. Long, 2004. "Race and College Admissions: An Alternative to Affirmative Action?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 1020-1033, November.
  57. Terry Long, B.Bridget, 2004. "How have college decisions changed over time? An application of the conditional logistic choice model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 271-296.
  58. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2009. "The Changing Selectivity of American Colleges," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 95-118, Fall.
  59. Ronald Caldwell Jr., 2008. "The Effects of University Affirmative Action Policies on the Human Capital Development of Minority Children: Do Expectations Matter?," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 200812, University of Kansas, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2010.
  60. Dickson, Lisa M., 2006. "Does ending affirmative action in college admissions lower the percent of minority students applying to college?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 109-119, February.
  61. Sunny Xinchun Niu & Marta Tienda, 2010. "The impact of the Texas top ten percent law on college enrollment: A regression discontinuity approach," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 84-110.
  62. Ahu Gemici & Matthew Wiswall, 2014. "Evolution Of Gender Differences In Post‐Secondary Human Capital Investments: College Majors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 23-56, February.
  63. Cortes, Kalena E., 2010. "Do Bans on Affirmative Action Hurt Minority Students? Evidence from the Texas Top 10% Plan," IZA Discussion Papers 5021, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  64. Doyle, William R., 2009. "The effect of community college enrollment on bachelor's degree completion," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 199-206, April.
  65. Stacy B. Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2014. "Estimating the Effects of College Characteristics over the Career Using Administrative Earnings Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(2), pages 323-358.
  66. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2006. "Estimating the Returns to College Quality with Multiple Proxies for Quality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 701-728, July.
  67. Audrey Light & Wayne Strayer, 2002. "From Bakke To Hopwood: Does Race Affect College Attendance And Completion?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 34-44, February.
  68. Eleanor Wiske Dillon & Jeffrey Andrew Smith, 2013. "The Determinants of Mismatch Between Students and Colleges," NBER Working Papers 19286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:54:y:2016:i:1:p:3-51. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.