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A Theory of Affirmative Action in College Admissions

  • Qiang Fu
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To address the issue of when minority and nonminority candidates compete for admissions to a college, we show that an academic quality--oriented college maximizes the test score of its incoming class by adopting an admissions rule that favors the minority. Such a "handicapping" rule increases competition and induces candidates to invest more in educational attainment. These results reconcile the often-assumed conflicts between diversity and academic quality. However, we also show that the non-minority responds to the affirmative action admissions more aggressively, which tends to widen the racial test score gap. (JEL H0, J7) Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 44 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 420-428

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:44:y:2006:i:3:p:420-428
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