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Would the Elimination of Affirmative Action Affect Highly Qualified Minority Applicants? Evidence from California and Texas

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  • David Card
  • Alan B. Krueger

Abstract

Between 1996 and 1998 California and Texas eliminated the use of affirmative action in college and university admissions. At the states' elite public universities admission rates of black and Hispanic students fell by 30-50 percent and minority representation in the entering freshman classes declined. In this paper we ask whether the elimination of affirmative action caused any change in the college application behavior of minority students in the two states. A particular concern is that highly qualified minorities - who were not directly affected by the policy change - would be dissuaded from applying to elite public schools, either because of the decline in campus diversity or because of uncertainty about their admission prospects. We use information from SAT-takers in the two states to compare the fractions of minority students who sent their test scores to selective state institutions before and after the elimination of affirmative action. We find no change in the SAT-sending behavior of highly qualified black or Hispanic students in either state.

Suggested Citation

  • David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 2004. "Would the Elimination of Affirmative Action Affect Highly Qualified Minority Applicants? Evidence from California and Texas," NBER Working Papers 10366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10366
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    1. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
    2. Winship C. Fuller & Charles F. Manski & David A. Wise, 1982. "New Evidence on the Economic Determinants of Postsecondary Schooling Choices," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(4), pages 477-498.
    3. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527.
    4. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1996. "Does It Pay To Attend An Elite Private College? Cross Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Quality on Earnings," NBER Working Papers 5613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Rothstein, J.M.Jesse M., 2004. "College performance predictions and the SAT," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 297-317.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)

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