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Affirmative Action and University Fit: Evidence from Proposition 209

  • Peter Arcidiacono
  • Esteban Aucejo
  • Patrick Coate
  • V. Joseph Hotz

Proposition 209 banned the use of racial preferences in admissions at public colleges in California. We analyze unique data for all applicants and enrollees within the University of California (UC) system before and after Prop 209. After Prop 209, graduation rates increased by 4.4%. We present evidence that certain institutions are better at graduating more-prepared students while other institutions are better at graduating less-prepared students and that these matching effects are particularly important for the bottom tail of the qualification distribution. We find that Prop 209 led to a more efficient sorting of minority students and the sorting effects explain over 20% of the graduation rate increase. Further, universities appear to have responded to Prop 209 by investing more in their students, explaining between 30-45% of the graduation rate increase.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1224.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1224
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  1. Eleanor Wiske Dillon & Jeffrey Andrew Smith, 2013. "The Determinants of Mismatch Between Students and Colleges," NBER Working Papers 19286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. repec:oup:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:4:p:1491-1527 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Peter Arcidiacono & Cory Koedel, 2014. "Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 20-57, July.
  4. Kate L. Antonovics & Richard H. Sander, 2013. "Affirmative Action Bans and the "Chilling Effect"," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 252-299.
  5. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2009. "The Changing Selectivity of American Colleges," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 95-118, Fall.
  6. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban M. Aucejo & Hanming Fang & Kenneth I. Spenner, 2009. "Does Affirmative Action Lead to Mismatch? A New Test and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 14885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bound, John & Turner, Sarah, 2007. "Cohort crowding: How resources affect collegiate attainment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 877-899, June.
  8. Jesse Rothstein & Albert H. Yoon, 2008. "Affirmative Action in Law School Admissions: What Do Racial Preferences Do?," NBER Working Papers 14276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano & Holger Sieg, 2008. "Diversity and Affirmative Action in Higher Education," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(4), pages 475-501, 08.
  10. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2010. "Why Have College Completion Rates Declined? An Analysis of Changing Student Preparation and Collegiate Resources," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 129-57, July.
  11. Sarah Turner, 2004. "Going to College and Finishing College.Explaining Different Educational Outcomes," NBER Chapters, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2012. "Increasing Time to Baccalaureate Degree in the United States," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 375-424, September.
  13. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey Smith, 2003. "How Robust is the Evidence on the Effects of College Quality? Evidence From Matching," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20033, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  14. Mark C. Long, 2004. "Race and College Admissions: An Alternative to Affirmative Action?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 1020-1033, November.
  15. Hinrichs, Peter, 2014. "Affirmative action bans and college graduation rates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 43-52.
  16. Ben Backes, 2012. "Do Affirmative Action Bans Lower Minority College Enrollment and Attainment?: Evidence from Statewide Bans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 435-455.
  17. Peter Hinrichs, 2012. "The Effects of Affirmative Action Bans on College Enrollment, Educational Attainment, and the Demographic Composition of Universities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 712-722, August.
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