IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Racial Segregation Patterns in Selective Universities


  • Peter Arcidiacono
  • Esteban Aucejo
  • Andrew Hussey
  • Kenneth Spenner


This paper examines sorting into interracial friendships at selective universities. We show significant friendship segregation, particularly for blacks. Indeed, black friendships are no more diverse in college than in high school despite the colleges blacks attend having substantially smaller black populations. We show that part of the reason for the segregation patterns is large differences in academic background coupled with students being more likely to form friendships with those of similar academic backgrounds. Within a school, stronger academic backgrounds make interracial friendships with blacks less likely and friendships with Asians more likely. These results suggest that affirmative action admission policies at selective universities which drive a wedge between the academic characteristics of different racial groups may result in increased within school segregation.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & Andrew Hussey & Kenneth Spenner, 2013. "Racial Segregation Patterns in Selective Universities," CEP Discussion Papers dp1219, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1219

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arcidiacono, Peter & Khan, Shakeeb & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2011. "Representation versus assimilation: How do preferences in college admissions affect social interactions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 1-15, February.
    2. David Marmaros & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "How Do Friendships Form?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 79-119.
    3. Peter Arcidiacono, 2005. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education: How Do Admission and Financial Aid Rules Affect Future Earnings?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1477-1524, September.
    4. Peter Arcidiacono & Gigi Foster & Natalie Goodpaster & Josh Kinsler, 2012. "Estimating spillovers using panel data, with an application to the classroom," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(3), pages 421-470, November.
    5. Braz Camargo & Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner, 2010. "Interracial Friendships in College," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 861-892, October.
    6. Baker, Sara & Mayer, Adalbert & Puller, Steven L., 2011. "Do more diverse environments increase the diversity of subsequent interaction? Evidence from random dorm assignment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 110-112, February.
    7. Mayer, Adalbert & Puller, Steven L., 2008. "The old boy (and girl) network: Social network formation on university campuses," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 329-347, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Dillon, Eleanor & Smith, Jeffrey A., 2015. "The Consequences of Academic Match between Students and Colleges," IZA Discussion Papers 9080, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Alena Bicakova & Stepan Jurajda, 2014. "The Quiet Revolution and the Family: Gender Composition of Tertiary Education and Early Fertility Patterns," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp504, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    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. Alexis Le Chapelain, 2014. "Market for Education and Student Achievement," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1jgbspo1909, Sciences Po.
    5. William R. Johnson, 2017. "Parties or Problem Sets: Review Article on How College Works and Paying for the Party," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 136-147, March.

    More about this item


    Minorities; college; friendship; race;

    JEL classification:

    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1219. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.