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A Theory of Affirmative Action in College Admissions

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  • Qiang Fu

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Qiang Fu, 2006. "A Theory of Affirmative Action in College Admissions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(3), pages 420-428, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:44:y:2006:i:3:p:420-428
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/ei/cbj020
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    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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