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The Effect of Banning Affirmative Action on College Admissions Policies and Student Quality

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  • Kate Antonovics
  • Ben Backes

Abstract

Using administrative data from the University of California (UC), we present evidence that UC campuses changed the weight given to SAT scores, high school GPA, and family background in response to California’s ban on race-based affirmative action, and that these changes were able to substantially (though far from completely) offset the fall in minority admissions rates. For both minorities and nonminorities, these changes to the estimated admissions rule hurt students with relatively strong academic credentials and whose parents were relatively affluent and educated. Despite these compositional shifts, however, average student quality (as measured by expected first-year college GPA) remained stable.

Suggested Citation

  • Kate Antonovics & Ben Backes, 2014. "The Effect of Banning Affirmative Action on College Admissions Policies and Student Quality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(2), pages 295-322.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:49:y:2014:ii:1:p:295-322
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Debraj Ray & Rajiv Sethi, 2010. "A Remark on Color-Blind Affirmative Action," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(3), pages 399-406, June.
    2. Roland Fryer & Glenn C. Loury & Tolga Yuret, 2003. "Color-Blind Affirmative Action," NBER Working Papers 10103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Dickson, Lisa M., 2006. "Does ending affirmative action in college admissions lower the percent of minority students applying to college?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 109-119, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban M. Aucejo & V. Joseph Hotz, 2016. "University Differences in the Graduation of Minorities in STEM Fields: Evidence from California," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 525-562, March.
    2. Das, Sabyasachi & Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop & Saroy, Rajas, 2017. "Efficiency Consequences of Affirmative Action in Politics: Evidence from India," IZA Discussion Papers 11093, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Arcidiacono, Peter & Aucejo, Esteban M. & Hotz, V. Joseph, 2016. "University differences in the graduation minorities in STEM fields: evidence from California," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64178, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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