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The Early Decision Option in College Admission and Its Impact on Student Diversity

  • Heather Antecol
  • Janet Kiholm Smith

Colleges and universities that adopt early decision (ED) as an admission practice can generate additional resources by attracting wealthier students who make binding commitments to attend and forgo shopping for competing aid offers. An unanswered question is whether the resources generated from price discrimination are used by schools during the regular admission process to attract more diverse students. Using a sample of private national universities and liberal arts colleges, we model the choice to adopt an ED program and its impact on students' racial and geographic diversity. We find that schools facing more competition for students are more likely to adopt an ED program. The overall heterogeneity of students is lower for schools that adopt ED, and heterogeneity decreases as schools enroll larger percentages of students through ED. Higher ED enrollment percentages appear to strongly and negatively affect Asian American and Hispanic students and positively affect white students.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/661195
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/661195
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 55 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 217 - 249

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/661195
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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  1. Christopher Avery & Jonathan Levin, 2010. "Early Admissions at Selective Colleges," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2125-56, December.
  2. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano & Sinan Sarpaca & Holger Sieg, 2006. "Profiling in Bargaining Over College Tuition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(515), pages F459-F479, November.
  3. Dennis W. Carlton & Gustavo E. Bamberger & Roy J. Epstein, 1995. "Antitrust and Higher Education: Was There a Conspiracy to Restrict Financial Aid?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(1), pages 131-147, Spring.
  4. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Holger Sieg & Dennis Epple & Richard Romano, 2003. "Peer effects, financial aid and selection of students into colleges and universities: an empirical analysis," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 501-525.
  6. DANIEL P. McMILLEN & LARRY D. SINGELL & GLEN R. WADDELL, 2007. "Spatial Competition And The Price Of College," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(4), pages 817-833, October.
  7. Gordon C. Winston, 1999. "Subsidies, Hierarchy and Peers: The Awkward Economics of Higher Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 13-36, Winter.
  8. Lang David M, 2007. "Financial Aid and Student Bargaining Power," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-21, August.
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