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Does Affirmative Action Lead to Mismatch? A New Test and Evidence

  • Peter Arcidiacono
  • Esteban M. Aucejo
  • Hanming Fang
  • Kenneth I. Spenner

We argue that once we take into account the students' rational enrollment decisions, mismatch in the sense that the intended beneficiary of affirmative action admission policies are made worse off could occur only if selective universities possess private information about students' post-enrollment treatment effects. This necessary condition for mismatch provides the basis for a new test. We propose an empirical methodology to test for private information in such a setting. The test is implemented using data from Campus Life and Learning Project (CLL) at Duke. Evidence shows that Duke does possess private information that is a statistically significant predictor of the students' post-enrollment academic performance. We also propose strategies to evaluate more conclusively whether the evidence of Duke private information has generated mismatch.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14885.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14885
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. 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, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527, November.
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  14. Peter Arcidiacono & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2010. "Does The River Spill Over? Estimating The Economic Returns To Attending A Racially Diverse College," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 537-557, 07.
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