AA ban increased CA minority graduation rate by 4.4%

Affirmative Action and University Fit: Evidence from Proposition 209
Peter Arcidiacono, Esteban Aucejo, Patrick Coate, V. Joseph Hotz

NBER Working Paper No. 18523
Issued in November 2012

Proposition 209 banned using racial preferences in admissions at California’s public colleges. We analyze unique data for all applicants and enrollees within the University of California (UC) system before and after Prop 209. After Prop 209, graduation rates of minorities increased by 4.4%. We characterize conditions required for better matching of students to campuses to account for this increase. We find that Prop 209 did improve matching and this improvement was important for the graduation gains experienced by less-prepared students. At the same time, better matching only explains about 20% of the overall graduation rate increase. Changes after Prop 209 in the selectivity of enrolled students explains 34-50% of the increase. Finally, it appears UC campuses responded to Prop 209 by doing more to help retain and graduate its students, which explains between 30-46% of the post-Prop 209 improvement in the graduation rate of minorities.

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2 Responses to AA ban increased CA minority graduation rate by 4.4%

  1. Anonymous says:

    Economists do cool research.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who was enrolled in a graduate program in the UC system when Prop 209 went into effect noticed a dramatic drop in minority enrollment. I believe there was one African American 1L at Boalt that year. Some of us found it difficult to believe that Prop 209 didn’t impact all of us adversely when that happened. What I find interesting is that authors of the Working Paper posit that the UC campuses felt the need to respond to Prop 209 by “doing more to help retain and graduate its students.” I suppose grammar is not that important and suspect that this minimalization of minority students in general is acceptable because we now all understand that they just didn’t fit into the UC system. Say what you will about AA, but there is no justification for eugenics in higher education. Diversity only makes all of us better.

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