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A Remark on Color-Blind Affirmative Action

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  • DEBRAJ RAY
  • RAJIV SETHI

Abstract

Faced with legal challenges to explicitly race-contingent admissions policies, elite educational institutions have turned to criteria that meet diversity goals without being formally contingent on applicant identity. We establish that under weak conditions that apply generically, such color-blind affirmative action policies must be nonmonotone, in the sense that within each social group, some students with lower scores are admitted while others with higher scores are denied. In addition, we argue that blind rules can generate greater disparities in mean scores across groups conditional on acceptance than would arise if explicitly race-contingent policies were permitted. Copyright © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Debraj Ray & Rajiv Sethi, 2010. "A Remark on Color-Blind Affirmative Action," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(3), pages 399-406, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:12:y:2010:i:3:p:399-406
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Mitra, Anirban, 2015. "Mandated Political Representation and Redistribution," MPRA Paper 67004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Glenn Ellison & Parag A. Pathak, 2016. "The Efficiency of Race-Neutral Alternatives to Race-Based Affirmative Action: Evidence from Chicago's Exam Schools," NBER Working Papers 22589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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