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Zhu study on affirmative action in undergraduate education published in Annual Review of Economics

May 5, 2015

Affirmative Action in Undergraduate Education

Peter Arcidiacono, Michael Lovenheim & Maria Zhu

Annual Review of Economics, May 2015

Maria Zhu

Maria Zhu

The use of race in college admissions is one of the most contentious issues in U.S. higher education. The authors survey the literature on the impact of racial preferences in college admissions on both minority and majority students. With regard to minority students, particular attention is paid to the scope of preferences as well as how preferences affect graduation, choice of major, and labor market earnings. The authors also examine how schools respond to bans on racial preferences and the effects these responses have on racial diversity at elite schools. With regard to majority students, the authors examine the evidence on the returns to attending a more racially diverse school, as well as how racial preferences affect friendship formation. Finally, they supplement studies of affirmative action in the United States with evidence from India, which provides a much more straightforward environment in which to study affirmative action owing to the use of quotas and admissions rules based solely on exam scores.