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Would the elimination of affirmative action affect highly qualified minority applicants? Evidence from California and Texas

  • David Card
  • Alan B. Krueger

Between 1996 and 1998 California and Texas eliminated the use of affirmative action in college and university admissions. At the states' elite public universities admission rates of black and Hispanic students subsequently fell by 30-50% and minority representation in the entering freshman classes declined. This study investigates whether the elimination of affirmative action changed minority students' college application behavior. A particular concern is that highly qualified minorities--who were not directly affected by the policy change--would be dissuaded from applying to elite public schools, either because of reduced campus diversity or because of uncertainty about their admission prospects. The authors use information from SAT takers in the two states to compare the fractions of minority students who sent their test scores to selective state institutions before and after the elimination of affirmative action. They find no change in the SAT-sending behavior of highly qualified black or Hispanic students.

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Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 58 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
Pages: 416-434

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:58:y:2005:i:3:p:416-434
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  1. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  2. Rothstein, J.M.Jesse M., 2004. "College performance predictions and the SAT," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 297-317.
  3. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," Working Papers 788, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1996. "Does It Pay To Attend An Elite Private College? Cross Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Quality on Earnings," NBER Working Papers 5613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Winship C. Fuller & Charles F. Manski & David A. Wise, 1982. "New Evidence on the Economic Determinants of Postsecondary Schooling Choices," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(4), pages 477-498.
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