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The Effect of Preferential Admissions on the College Participation of Disadvantaged Students: The Role of Pre-College Choices

Michela Tincani (), Fabian Kosse () and Enrico Miglino
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Michela Tincani: University College London
Fabian Kosse: LMU Munich
Enrico Miglino: University College London

No 2022-034, Working Papers from Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group

Abstract: Exploiting the randomized expansion of preferential college admissions in Chile, we show they increased admission and enrollment of disadvantaged students by 32%. But the intended beneficiaries were nearly three times as many, and of higher average ability, than those induced to be admitted. The evidence points to students making pre-college choices that caused this divergence. Using linked survey-administrative data, we present evidence consistent with students being averse to preferential enrollment, misperceiving their abilities, and having social preferences towards their friends (although social preferences did not mediate the admission impacts). Simulations from an estimated structural model suggest that aversion to the preferential channel more than halved the enrollment impacts, by inducing some to forgo preferential admission eligibility, and that students' misperceptions worsened the ability-composition of college entrants, by distorting pre-college investments into admission qualifications. The results demonstrate the importance of understanding high school students' preferences and beliefs when designing preferential admissions.

Keywords: Chile; student choice; social preferences; subjective beliefs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D91 I23 I24 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lam and nep-ure
Note: IP, M
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Downloads: (external link) ... ge-participation.pdf First version, October 6, 2022 (application/pdf)

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