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Representation versus assimilation: How do preferences in college admissions affect social interactions?

Author

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  • Arcidiacono, Peter
  • Khan, Shakeeb
  • Vigdor, Jacob L.

Abstract

Given the existence of non-selective universities, the question of whether to employ racial preferences in college admissions reduces to one of optimal allocation of a finite resource: students who are members of under-represented racial or ethnic groups. In this paper, we assess recent legal arguments that racial preferences at selective colleges promote meaningful on-campus interracial interaction. As such, we model such interaction as a function of minority representation and, in some cases, perceived social similarity between students of different races. We estimate a structural model to capture these effects and use the results to trace out the net effects of racial preferences on population rates of interracial contact. The results suggest that the interaction-maximizing degree of racial preference, while positive, is significantly weaker than that observed in practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Arcidiacono, Peter & Khan, Shakeeb & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2011. "Representation versus assimilation: How do preferences in college admissions affect social interactions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 1-15.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:1:p:1-15
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2010.10.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Paul Torelli, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of 'Acting White'," NBER Working Papers 11334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. David Marmaros & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "How Do Friendships Form?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 79-119.
    4. Peter Arcidiacono, 2005. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education: How Do Admission and Financial Aid Rules Affect Future Earnings?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1477-1524, September.
    5. Peter Arcidiacono & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2010. "Does The River Spill Over? Estimating The Economic Returns To Attending A Racially Diverse College," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 537-557, July.
    6. Mayer, Adalbert & Puller, Steven L., 2008. "The old boy (and girl) network: Social network formation on university campuses," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 329-347, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & Andrew Hussey & Kenneth Spenner, 2013. "Racial Segregation Patterns in Selective Universities," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 1039-1060.
    2. 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.
    3. Marina Murat, 2014. "Soft, hard or smart power? International students and investments abroad," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 107, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    4. 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.
    5. Marina Murat, 2013. "Education ties and investments abroad. Empirical evidence from the US and UK," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 091, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    6. repec:mod:depeco:0014 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Murat, Marina, 2014. "Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind. Education Networks and International Trade," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 53-66.
    8. Marina Murat, 2014. "Soft, hard or smart power? International students and investments abroad," Department of Economics 0043, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    9. Peter Arcidiacono & Cory Koedel, 2014. "Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 20-57, July.
    10. repec:mod:depeco:0002 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Lester Lusher & Doug Campbell & Scott Carrell, 2015. "TAs Like Me: Racial Interactions between Graduate Teaching Assistants and Undergraduates," NBER Working Papers 21568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Anil Nathan, 2015. "Sorting and Statistical Discrimination in Schools," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 43(2), pages 271-287, June.
    13. Díez-Amigo, Sandro, 2014. "The Impact of College Peers on Academic Performance: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Chile," MPRA Paper 62913, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Aug 2014.
    14. Anil Nathan, 2009. "Sorting and Statistical Discrimination in Schools: An Analysis Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health," Working Papers 0905, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
    15. Braz Camargo & Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2007. "Evidence about the Potential Role for Affirmative Action in Higher Education," NBER Working Papers 13342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2013. "Group design with endogenous associations," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 411-421.
    17. 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

    Keywords

    Affirmative action; Social stratification; Diversity;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General

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