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Race and College Admissions: An Alternative to Affirmative Action?

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  • Mark C. Long

    (University of Washington)

Abstract

During the late 1990s, several states eliminated affirmative action admissions policies at their public colleges. Some of these states substituted a program that grants admission to the top x% of each high school's graduating class. These new programs were instituted in efforts to restore minority college enrollments to their prior levels. This paper finds that the preferences given to minority applicants under affirmative action are large and that the minority share of admitted students in top-tier institutions would fall substantially after eliminating these preferences. However, there are not sufficient numbers of minorities in the top x% of their high school for the expected recovery from an x% program to be very large. Furthermore, most minority beneficiaries would have been accepted without these programs. As a result, x% programs are unable to replace traditional affirmative action and maintain the share of minority students. © 2004 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:86:y:2004:i:4:p:1020-1033
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Maria Eduarda Tannuri Pianto & Andrew Francis, 2011. "The Redistributive Efficacy Ofaffirmative Action: Exploring The Role Of Race And Socioeconomic Statusin College Admissions," Anais do XXXVIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 38th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 218, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    3. Francis, Andrew M. & Tannuri-Pianto, Maria, 2012. "The redistributive equity of affirmative action: Exploring the role of race, socioeconomic status, and gender in college admissions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 45-55.
    4. Contreras, Dante & Gallegos, Sebastian & Meneses, Francisco, 2009. "Determinantes del desempeño universitario: ¿Importa la habilidad relativa?
      [University performance determinants: does relative ability matter?]
      ," MPRA Paper 23320, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Ben Backes, 2012. "Do Affirmative Action Bans Lower Minority College Enrollment and Attainment?: Evidence from Statewide Bans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 435-455.
    6. Dickson, Lisa & Pender, Matea, 2013. "Do in-state tuition benefits affect the enrollment of non-citizens? Evidence from universities in Texas," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 126-137.
    7. Francisca Antman & Brian Duncan, 2015. "Incentives to Identify: Racial Identity in the Age of Affirmative Action," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 710-713, July.
    8. Sandra E. Black & Kalena E. Cortes & Jane Arnold Lincove, 2015. "Apply Yourself: Racial and Ethnic Differences in College Application," NBER Working Papers 21368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Cullen, Julie Berry & Long, Mark C. & Reback, Randall, 2013. "Jockeying for position: Strategic high school choice under Texas' top ten percent plan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 32-48.
    10. Herbst, Mikolaj & Rok, Jakub, 2011. "Equity in an educational boom: Lessons from the expansion and marketization of tertiary schooling in Poland," MPRA Paper 33795, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Li, Dong & Weisman, Dennis L., 2011. "Why preferences in college admissions may yield a more-able student body," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 724-728, August.
    12. Peter Arcidiacono & Michael Lovenheim, 2016. "Affirmative Action and the Quality-Fit Trade-Off," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 3-51, March.
    13. Dario Cestau & Dennis Epple & Holger Sieg, 2017. "Admitting Students to Selective Education Programs: Merit, Profiling, and Affirmative Action," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(3), pages 761-797.
    14. Arcidiacono, Peter & Aucejo, Esteban & Coate, Patrick & Hotz, V. Joseph, 2012. "Affirmative Action and University Fit: Evidence from Proposition 209," IZA Discussion Papers 7000, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Sandra E. Black & Kalena E. Cortes & Jane Arnold Lincove, 2014. "Efficacy vs. Equity: What Happens When States Tinker with College Admissions in a Race-Blind Era?," NBER Working Papers 20804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Chan, Jimmy & Eyster, Erik, 2007. "The Distributional Consequences of Diversity-Enhancing University Admissions Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 6278, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Hinrichs, Peter, 2014. "An Empirical Analysis of Racial Segregation in Higher Education," Working Paper 1435, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    18. Song, Yang, 2017. "Sorting, School Performance and Quality: Evidence from China," Working Papers 2018-01, Department of Economics, Colgate University, revised 20 Mar 2018.
    19. Surendrakumar Bagde & Dennis Epple & Lowell Taylor, 2016. "Does Affirmative Action Work? Caste, Gender, College Quality, and Academic Success in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(6), pages 1495-1521, June.
    20. Grove Wayne A. & Hussey Andrew J., 2014. "Preferential Admission and MBA Outcomes: Mismatch Effects by Race and Gender," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(3), pages 1-56, July.
    21. Mikolaj Herbst & Jakub Rok, 2011. "Equity of access to higher education in the transforming economy. Evidence from Poland," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 6,in: Antonio Caparrós Ruiz (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 6, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 29, pages 475-494 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    22. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:86-96 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Hinrichs, Peter, 2014. "Affirmative action bans and college graduation rates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 43-52.
    24. Alon, Sigal & Malamud, Ofer, 2014. "The impact of Israel's class-based affirmative action policy on admission and academic outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 123-139.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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