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Mismatch in Law School


  • Jesse Rothstein
  • Albert Yoon


An important criticism of race-based higher education admission preferences is that they may hurt minority students who attend more selective schools than they would in the absence of such preferences. We categorize the non-experimental research designs available for the study of so-called "mismatch" effects and evaluate the likely biases in each. We select two comparisons and use them to examine mismatch effects in law school. We find no evidence of mismatch effects on any students' employment outcomes or on the graduation or bar passage rates of black students with moderate or strong entering credentials. What evidence there is for mismatch comes from less-qualified black students who typically attend second- or third-tier schools. Many of these students would not have been admitted to any law school without preferences, however, and the resulting sample selection prevents strong conclusions.

Suggested Citation

  • Jesse Rothstein & Albert Yoon, 2008. "Mismatch in Law School," NBER Working Papers 14275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14275
    Note: CH ED LE LS

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Alan B. Krueger & Jesse Rothstein & Sarah Turner, 2004. "Race, Income and College in 25 Years: The Continuing Legacy of Segregation and Discrimination," Working Papers 9, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Education Research Section..
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    12. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
    13. Jesse Rothstein & Albert H. Yoon, 2007. "Affirmative Action in Law School Admissions: What Do Racial Preferences Do?," Working Papers 20, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Education Research Section..
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    Cited by:

    1. Cortes, Kalena E., 2010. "Do Bans on Affirmative Action Hurt Minority Students? Evidence from the Texas Top 10% Plan," IZA Discussion Papers 5021, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban M. Aucejo & Hanming Fang & Kenneth I. Spenner, 2011. "Does affirmative action lead to mismatch? A new test and evidence," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(3), pages 303-333, November.
    3. Bertrand, Marianne & Hanna, Rema & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2010. "Affirmative action in education: Evidence from engineering college admissions in India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 16-29, February.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Joanne W. Golann & Kerstin Gentsch & Chang Y. Chung, 2012. "Does the "Mismatch Hypothesis" Apply to Hispanic Students at Selective Colleges?," Working Papers 31, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Education Research Section..
    7. Rodney J. Andrews & Jing Li & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2012. "Quantile Treatment Effects of College Quality on Earnings: Evidence from Administrative Data in Texas," NBER Working Papers 18068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K30 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - General

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