Affirmative Action and the Quality-Fit Trade-Off
Journal of Economic Literature
no. 1, March 2016
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)
Arcidiacono, Peter, and Michael Lovenheim.
"Affirmative Action and the Quality-Fit Trade-Off."
Journal of Economic Literature,
Higher Education; Research Institutions
Returns to Education
Education: Government Policy
Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing
Basic Areas of Law: General (Constitutional Law)