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Affirmative Action and the Quality-Fit Trade-Off

Peter Arcidiacono and Michael Lovenheim ()

Journal of Economic Literature, 2016, vol. 54, issue 1, 3-51

Abstract: This paper reviews the literature on affirmative action in undergraduate education and law schools, focusing especially on the trade-off between institutional quality and the fit between a school and a student. We discuss the conditions under which affirmative action for underrepresented minorities (URM) could help or harm their educational outcomes. We provide descriptive evidence on the extent of affirmative action in law schools, as well as a critical review of the contentious literature on how affirmative action affects URM law-school student performance. Our review then discusses affirmative action in undergraduate admissions, focusing on the effects such admissions preferences have on college quality, graduation rates, college major, and earnings. We conclude by examining the evidence on "percent plans" as a replacement for affirmative action. ( JEL I23, I26, I28, J15, J31, J44, K10)

JEL-codes: I23 I26 I28 J15 J31 J44 K10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.54.1.3
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Working Paper: Affirmative Action and the Quality-Fit Tradeoff (2015) Downloads
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Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:54:y:2016:i:1:p:3-51