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Does affirmative action lead to mismatch? A new test and evidence


  • Peter Arcidiacono
  • Esteban M. Aucejo
  • Hanming Fang
  • Kenneth I. Spenner


We argue that once we take into account the students' rational enrollment decisions, mismatch in the sense that the intended beneficiary of affirmative action admission policies are made worse off could occur only if selective universities possess private information about students' post-enrollment treatment effects. This necessary condition for mismatch provides the basis for a new test. We propose an empirical methodology to test for private information in such a setting. The test is implemented using data from Campus Life and Learning Project (CLL) at Duke. Evidence shows that Duke does possess private information that is a statistically significant predictor of the students' post-enrollment academic performance. We also propose strategies to evaluate more conclusively whether the evidence of Duke private information has generated mismatch.
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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:quante:v:2:y:2011:i:3:p:303-333 DOI: QE83

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Grove Wayne A. & Hussey Andrew J., 2014. "Preferential Admission and MBA Outcomes: Mismatch Effects by Race and Gender," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(3), pages 1-56, July.
    5. Juanna Schrøter Joensen & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 2017. "Spillovers in Education Choice," Working Papers id:12272, eSocialSciences.
    6. Andrietti, Vincenzo & Su, Xuejuan, 2016. "Education Curriculum and Student Achievement: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2016-12, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    7. Surendrakumar Bagde & Dennis Epple & Lowell Taylor, 2016. "Does Affirmative Action Work? Caste, Gender, College Quality, and Academic Success in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(6), pages 1495-1521, June.
    8. Arcidiacono, Peter & Hotz, V. Joseph & Kang, Songman, 2012. "Modeling college major choices using elicited measures of expectations and counterfactuals," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(1), pages 3-16.
    9. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & Patrick Coate & V. Joseph Hotz, 2012. "Affirmative Action and University Fit: Evidence from Proposition 209," NBER Working Papers 18523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Debopam Bhattacharya & Shin Kanaya & Margaret Stevens, 2017. "Are University Admissions Academically Fair?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(3), pages 449-464, July.
    11. Joshua Congdon-Hohman & Anil Nathan & Justin Svec, 2013. "Student Uncertainty and Major Choice," Working Papers 1301, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
    12. Basit Zafar, 2011. "How Do College Students Form Expectations?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 301-348.
    13. Joseph G. Altonji & Peter Arcidiacono & Arnaud Maurel, 2015. "The Analysis of Field Choice in College and Graduate School: Determinants and Wage Effects," NBER Working Papers 21655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Rodney J. Andrews & Scott A. Imberman & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2016. "Recruiting and Supporting Low-Income, High-Achieving Students at Flagship Universities," NBER Working Papers 22260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. 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.
    16. Helena Nielsen & Juanna Joensen, 2015. "Peer Effects in Math and Science," 2015 Meeting Papers 1343, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Joensen, Juanna Schrøter & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2017. "Spillovers in Education Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 11141, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Alexis Le Chapelain, 2014. "Market for Education and Student Achievement," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1jgbspo1909, Sciences Po.
    19. Thomas Gall & Patrick Legros & Andrew Newman, 2015. "College Diversity and Investment Incentives," Working Papers 2015-001, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    20. Hinrichs, Peter, 2014. "Affirmative action bans and college graduation rates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 43-52.
    21. Thomas Gall & Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2009. "Mis-match, Re-match, and Investment," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-189, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    22. Eric Parsons, 2014. "Does Attending a Low-Achieving School Affect High-Performing Student Outcomes?," Working Papers 1407, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 18 Feb 2015.
    23. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination


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