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The Effects of University Affirmative Action Policies on the Human Capital Development of Minority Children: Do Expectations Matter?

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  • Ronald Caldwell Jr.

    (Department of Economics, The University of Kansas)

Abstract

Research shows that minority children enter the labor market with lower levels of acquired skill than their white counterparts. The causes of this skill gap, however, are not entirely understood. This paper analyzes one possible cause: the impact of a perceived lack of future opportunities on the human capital investment decisions of minority children and parents. Using NLSY79 data, I take advantage of changes in affirmative action laws regarding university admissions as a natural experiment. I test for changes in a variety of child and parental human capital investment variables such as time spent studying and parental involvement for children below the age of 15. The results show that time spent studying among 7th and 8th grade blacks in the affected states is significantly lower. The results for parental input variables show a fairly consistent negative trend among black parents of younger children. Additionally, cognitive achievement tests are examined and show significant results among the same age groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald Caldwell Jr., 2008. "The Effects of University Affirmative Action Policies on the Human Capital Development of Minority Children: Do Expectations Matter?," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 200812, University of Kansas, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:kan:wpaper:200812
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    File URL: http://www2.ku.edu/~kuwpaper/2008Papers/200812.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Fisher & Christina Houseworth, 2012. "The reverse wage gap among educated White and Black women," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 10(4), pages 449-470, December.
    2. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    affirmative action; skill gaps; human capital investment;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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