Why preferences in college admissions may yield a more-able student body
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.
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- 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.
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- David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 2005. "Would the Elimination of Affirmative Action Affect Highly Qualified Minority Applicants? Evidence from California and Texas," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 416-434, April.
- David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 2004. "Would the Elimination of Affirmative Action Affect Highly Qualified Minority Applicants? Evidence from California and Texas," NBER Working Papers 10366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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- 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.
- 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.
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