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Why preferences in college admissions may yield a more-able student body


Economics of Education Review Volume 30, Number 4, ISSN 0272-7757 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Critics of affirmative action policies contend that the elimination of racial preferences in college admissions would lead to a “more-able” student body. We develop a simple model comprised of three classes of college admissions—merit, race and legacy—to show that it is possible that a change in admissions policy that reduces racial preferences leads to a “less-able” student body. The change in admissions policy may serve only to ensure that more admissions are available for “sale” to wealthy alumni through legacy preferences. In other words, when there are multi-dimensional preferences, reducing or eliminating one dimension of preferences may lead to the unforeseen consequence of producing a “less able” student body.


Li, D. & Weisman, D.L. (2011). Why preferences in college admissions may yield a more-able student body. Economics of Education Review, 30(4), 724-728. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved September 15, 2019 from .

This record was imported from Economics of Education Review on March 1, 2019. Economics of Education Review is a publication of Elsevier.

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