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Does The River Spill Over? Estimating The Economic Returns To Attending A Racially Diverse College

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  • PETER ARCIDIACONO
  • JACOB L. VIGDOR

Abstract

"This article evaluates the frequently argued but heretofore little tested hypothesis that increasing minority representation in elite colleges generates tangible benefits for majority-race students. Using data on graduates of 30 selective universities, we find only weak evidence of any relationship between collegiate racial composition and the postgraduation outcomes of white or Asian students. Moreover, the strongest evidence we uncover suggests that increasing minority representation by lowering admission standards is unlikely to produce benefits and may in fact cause harm by reducing the representation of minority students on less selective campuses. While affirmative action may still be desirable for the benefits it conveys to minority students, these results provide little support for "spillover" effects on majority-race students. "("JEL" I2, J15, J24) Copyright (c) 2009 Western Economic Association International.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:48:y:2010:i:3:p:537-557
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Barbara Wolfe & Jason Fletcher, 2013. "Estimating Benefits from University Level Diversity," CEPR Discussion Papers 680, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    3. Peter Arcidiacono & Michael Lovenheim, 2016. "Affirmative Action and the Quality-Fit Trade-Off," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 3-51, March.
    4. Zeynep Hansen & Hideo Owan & Jie Pan, 2006. "The Impact of Group Diversity on Performance and Knowledge Spillover -- An Experiment in a College Classroom," NBER Working Papers 12251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. Harry J. Holzer & David Neumark, 2006. "Affirmative action: What do we know?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(2), pages 463-490.
    7. Arcidiacono, Peter & Khan, Shakeeb & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2011. "Representation versus assimilation: How do preferences in college admissions affect social interactions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 1-15, February.
    8. Anil Nathan, 2009. "Sorting and Statistical Discrimination in Schools: An Analysis Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health," Working Papers 0905, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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