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Redistribution without Distortion: Evidence from an Affirmative Action Program at a Large Brazilian University

Fernanda Estevan (), Thomas Gall () and Louis-Philippe Morin ()

No 1608E, Working Papers from University of Ottawa, Department of Economics

Abstract: In this paper, we examine an innovative affirmative action policy designed to increase the representation of underprivileged students at UNICAMP, a large and highly ranked Brazilian university. The university awarded bonus points to targeted applicants (i.e., public high school applicants) on their admission exam, as opposed to imposing a typical quota system. Using a rich set of administrative data from UNICAMP, we assess the effect of this policy on the composition of admitted students, and investigate for possible behavioral responses at the extensive (participation) and intensive (preparation effort) margins. We find that the admission probability of public high school applicants, the targeted applicants, significantly increased following the adoption of the affirmative action program. The policy was also associated with sizable redistribution in the composition of admitted students, with a shift towards students from families with lower socio-economic status. Surprisingly, we find little evidence of behavioral reactions to the affirmative action policy, in terms of test performance or application decision.

Keywords: post-secondary education; affirmative action; university admission; inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu
Date: 2016
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Journal Article: Redistribution Without Distortion: Evidence from an Affirmative Action Programme at a Large Brazilian University (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Redistribution without distortion: Evidence from an affirmative action program at a large Brazilian university (2016) Downloads
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