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The effects of attending a diverse college

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  • Hinrichs, Peter

Abstract

The question of whether there are benefits to be obtained from having a diverse student body is a key issue in the debate over affirmative action. This paper estimates the effects of college racial diversity on post-college earnings, civic behavior, and satisfaction with the college attended. I use the Beginning Postsecondary Students survey, which allows me to control for exposure to racial diversity prior to college. Moreover, I use two techniques from Altonji, Elder, and Taber (2005) to address the issue of selection on unobservables. The first is a sensitivity analysis showing how the coefficient on diversity changes when different values of the correlation are imposed in a system of equations that consists of a selection equation and an outcome equation. The second is estimation based upon an assumption that selection on unobservables equals selection on observables, which, along with the OLS results, gives estimates of bounds on the effect. Single-equation estimates suggest a possible positive effect of diversity on satisfaction with the racial climate at the college attended and a negative effect on community service, but I do not find an effect on other outcomes. Moreover, the estimates are very sensitive to the assumptions made about selection on unobservables.

Suggested Citation

  • Hinrichs, Peter, 2011. "The effects of attending a diverse college," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 332-341, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:2:p:332-341
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Manan Roy, 2011. "How Well Does the U.S. Government Provide Health Insurance?," Departmental Working Papers 1102, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    3. Manan Roy, 2014. "How well does the U.S. Government provide health insurance for infants?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 253-284, February.
    4. 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.
    5. Trinh Le, 2013. "Does Participation in Extracurricular Activities Reduce Engagement in Risky Behaviours?," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n35, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    6. Hinrichs, Peter, 2014. "Affirmative action bans and college graduation rates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 43-52.

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