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Why preferences in college admissions may yield a more-able student body

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  • Li, Dong
  • Weisman, Dennis L.

Abstract

Critics of affirmative action policies contend that the elimination of racial preferences in college admissions would lead to a "more-able" student body. We develop a simple model comprised of three classes of college admissions--merit, race and legacy--to show that it is possible that a change in admissions policy that reduces racial preferences leads to a "less-able" student body. The change in admissions policy may serve only to ensure that more admissions are available for "sale" to wealthy alumni through legacy preferences. In other words, when there are multi-dimensional preferences, reducing or eliminating one dimension of preferences may lead to the unforeseen consequence of producing a "less able" student body.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Dong & Weisman, Dennis L., 2011. "Why preferences in college admissions may yield a more-able student body," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 724-728, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:4:p:724-728
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Baum, Sandy & Goodstein, Eban, 2005. "Gender imbalance in college applications: Does it lead to a preference for men in the admissions process?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 665-675, December.
    3. Qiang Fu, 2006. "A Theory of Affirmative Action in College Admissions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(3), pages 420-428, July.
    4. 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.
    5. R. G. Lipsey & Kelvin Lancaster, 1956. "The General Theory of Second Best," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 11-32.
    6. 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.
    7. Thomas J. Espenshade & Chang Y. Chung, 2005. "The Opportunity Cost of Admission Preferences at Elite Universities," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 86(2), pages 293-305.
    8. Niu, Sunny Xinchun & Tienda, Marta & Cortes, Kalena, 2006. "College selectivity and the Texas top 10% law," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 259-272, June.
    9. Long, M.C.Mark C., 2004. "College applications and the effect of affirmative action," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 319-342.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pastine, Ivan & Pastine, Tuvana, 2012. "Student incentives and preferential treatment in college admissions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 123-130.
    2. repec:eee:ireced:v:25:y:2017:i:c:p:8-14 is not listed on IDEAS

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