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Color-Blind Affirmative Action

  • Roland Fryer
  • Glenn C. Loury
  • Tolga Yuret

This paper presents a conceptual framework for understanding the consequences of the widespread adoption of race-neutral alternatives' to conventional racial affirmative action policies in college admissions. A simple model of applicant competition with endogenous effort is utilized to show that, in comparison to color-conscious affirmative action, these color-blind alternatives can significantly lower the efficiency of the student selection process in equilibrium. We examine data on matriculates at several selective colleges and universities to estimate the magnitudes involved. It is shown that the short-run efficiency losses of implementing color-blind affirmative action (in our sample) are four to five times as high as color-conscious affirmative action.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10103.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10103.

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Date of creation: Nov 2003
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Publication status: published as Fryer, Roland G., Jr., Glenn C. Loury, and Tolga Yuret. "An Economic Analysis of Color-Blind Affirmative Action." Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 24, 2 (October 2008): 319-55.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10103
Note: LS
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  1. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano & Holger Sieg, 2003. "The Practice and Proscription of Affirmative Action in Higher Education:An Equilibrium Analysis," NBER Working Papers 9799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn C, 1993. "Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1220-40, December.
  3. 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.
  4. David Neumark & Harry Holzer, 2000. "Assessing Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 483-568, September.
  5. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1993. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 99-103, May.
  6. Roland G. Fryer & Glenn C. Loury, 2003. "Categorical Redistribution in Winner-Take-All Markets," NBER Working Papers 10104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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