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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. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 2005. "Would the Elimination of Affirmative Action Affect Highly Qualified Minority Applicants? Evidence from California and Texas," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 416-434, April.
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    4. Roland Fryer & Glenn C. Loury & Tolga Yuret, 2003. "Color-Blind Affirmative Action," NBER Working Papers 10103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    6. Jimmy Chan & Erik Eyster, 2003. "Does Banning Affirmative Action Lower College Student Quality?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 858-872, June.
    7. 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:

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    2. 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.
    3. Arcidiacono, Peter & Kinsler, Josh & Ransom, Tyler, 2022. "Asian American Discrimination in Harvard Admissions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    4. Liu, Haoyang & Song, Yang & Zhang, Xiaohan, 2022. "Moving to better opportunities? Housing market responses to the top 4% policy," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C).
    5. Francis-Tan, Andrew & Tannuri-Pianto, Maria, 2018. "Black Movement: Using discontinuities in admissions to study the effects of college quality and affirmative action," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 97-116.
    6. Das, Sabyasachi & Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop & Saroy, Rajas, 2017. "Efficiency Consequences of Affirmative Action in Politics: Evidence from India," IZA Discussion Papers 11093, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Sabyasachi Das & Rajas Saroy, 2018. "Does Affirmative Action in Politics Hinder Performance? Evidence from India," Working Papers 03, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.
    8. Andrés Barrios F., 2018. "Admisión universitaria: el caso del puntaje ranking y la retención de los beneficiados," Estudios Públicos, Centro de Estudios Públicos, vol. 0(150), pages 127-159.
    9. Firoozi, Daniel, 2022. "The impact of post-admission merit scholarships on enrollment decisions and degree attainment: Evidence from randomization," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).
    10. Sabyasachi Das & Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay & Rajas Saroy, 2018. "Does Affirmative Action in Politics Hinder Performance? Evidence from India," Working Papers 1007, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.
    11. 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.
    12. Fajnzylber, Eduardo & Lara, Bernardo & León, Tomás, 2019. "Increased learning or GPA inflation? Evidence from GPA-based university admission in Chile," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 147-165.
    13. Gaurav Khanna, 2020. "Does Affirmative Action Incentivize Schooling? Evidence from India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 219-233, May.

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