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Admitting Students to Selective Education Programs: Merit, Profiling, and Affirmative Action

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  • Dario Cestau
  • Dennis Epple
  • Holger Sieg

Abstract

Minority and disadvantaged students are typically underrepresented in selective programs that use merit-based admission. Urban school districts may set different referral and admission thresholds based on income and race (affirmative action), and they may exploit differences in achievement relative to ability across race and income groups (profiling). We develop and estimate a model that provides a unified treatment of affirmative action and profiling. We find profiling by race and income and affirmative action for low-income students. Counterfactual analysis reveals that these policies achieve more than 80 percent of African American enrollment that could be attained by race-based affirmative action.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/691702
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kartik Athreya & Felicia Ionescu & Ivan Vidangos & Urvi Neelakantan, 2018. "Investment Opportunities and Economic Outcomes: Who Benefits From College and the Stock Market?," 2018 Meeting Papers 1151, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Athreya, Kartik B. & Ionescu, Felicia & Neelakantan, Urvi & Vidangos, Ivan, 2019. "Who Values Access to College?," Working Paper 19-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    3. Glenn Ellison & Parag A. Pathak, 2016. "The Efficiency of Race-Neutral Alternatives to Race-Based Affirmative Action: Evidence from Chicago's Exam Schools," NBER Working Papers 22589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Dougherty, Shaun M. & Goodman, Joshua S. & Hill, Darryl V. & Litke, Erica G. & Page, Lindsay C., 2017. "Objective course placement and college readiness: Evidence from targeted middle school math acceleration," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 141-161.
    5. Bonin, Holger, 2017. "The Potential Economic Benefits of Education of Migrants in the EU," IZA Research Reports 75, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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