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Do Bans on Affirmative Action Hurt Minority Students? Evidence from the Texas Top 10% Plan

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  • Kalena E. Cortes

    (Syracuse University)

Abstract

In light of the recent bans on affirmative action in higher education, this paper provides new evidence on the effects of alternative admissions policies on the persistence and college completion of minority students. I find that the change from affirmative action to the Top 10% Plan in Texas decreased both retention and graduation rates of lower-ranked minority students. Results show that both fall-to-fall freshmen retention and six-year college graduation of seconddecile minority students decreased, respectively, by 2.4 and 3.3 percentage points. The effect of the change in admissions policy was slightly larger for minority students in the third and lower deciles -- fall-to-fall freshmen retention and six-year college graduation decreased, respectively, by 4.9 and 4.2 percentage points. Moreover, I find no evidence in support of the minority "mismatch" hypothesis. These results suggest that most of the increase in the graduation gap between minorities and non-minorities in Texas, a staggering 90 percent, was driven by the elimination of affirmative action in the 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Kalena E. Cortes, 2010. "Do Bans on Affirmative Action Hurt Minority Students? Evidence from the Texas Top 10% Plan," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 10-168, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:10-168
    Note: This paper is forthcoming in Economics of Education Review.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jason M. Fletcher & Adalbert Mayer, 2014. "Tracing The Effects Of Guaranteed Admission Through The College Process: Evidence From A Policy Discontinuity In The Texas 10% Plan," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(1), pages 169-186, January.
    2. Dylan Conger & Lisa Dickson, 2017. "Gender Imbalance in Higher Education: Insights for College Administrators and Researchers," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 58(2), pages 214-230, March.
    3. Hinrichs, Peter, 2011. "The effects of attending a diverse college," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 332-341, April.
    4. Page, Lindsay C. & Scott-Clayton, Judith, 2016. "Improving college access in the United States: Barriers and policy responses," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 4-22.
    5. Lincove, Jane Arnold & Cortes, Kalena E., 2016. "Match or Mismatch? Automatic Admissions and College Preferences of Low- and High-Income Students," IZA Discussion Papers 10150, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Hill, Andrew J., 2017. "State affirmative action bans and STEM degree completions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 31-40.
    7. Rodney Andrews & Kevin Stange, 2016. "Price Regulation, Price Discrimination, and Equality of Opportunity in Higher Education: Evidence from Texas," NBER Working Papers 22901, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Pastine, Ivan & Pastine, Tuvana, 2012. "Student incentives and preferential treatment in college admissions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 123-130.
    9. 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.
    10. Sandra E. Black & Kalena E. Cortes & Jane Arnold Lincove, 2014. "Efficacy vs. Equity: What Happens When States Tinker with College Admissions in a Race-Blind Era?," NBER Working Papers 20804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Umut Mert Dur & Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2016. "Explicit vs. Statistical Preferential Treatment in Affirmative Action: Theory and Evidence from Chicago’s Exam Schools," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 906, Boston College Department of Economics.
    12. Hinrichs, Peter, 2014. "Affirmative action bans and college graduation rates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 43-52.
    13. Alon, Sigal & Malamud, Ofer, 2014. "The impact of Israel's class-based affirmative action policy on admission and academic outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 123-139.
    14. Jane Arnold Lincove & Kalena E. Cortes, 2016. "Match or Mismatch? Automatic Admissions and College Preferences of Low- and High-Income Students," NBER Working Papers 22559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Affirmative Action; Top 10% Plan; College Quality; Freshmen Retention; College Graduation;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • 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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