Affirmative Action and University Fit: Evidence from Proposition 209

43 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2012 Last revised: 11 Feb 2021

See all articles by Peter Arcidiacono

Peter Arcidiacono

Duke University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Esteban M. Aucejo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Patrick Coate

Duke University

V. Joseph Hotz

Duke University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2012

Abstract

Proposition 209 banned the use of racial preferences in admissions at public colleges in California. 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 increased by 4.4%. We present evidence that certain institutions are better at graduating more-prepared students while other institutions are better at graduating less-prepared students and that these matching effects are particularly important for the bottom tail of the qualification distribution. We find that Prop 209 led to a more efficient sorting of minority students, explaining 18% of the graduation rate increase in our preferred specification. Further, universities appear to have responded to Prop 209 by investing more in their students, explaining between 23-64% of the graduation rate increase.

Suggested Citation

Arcidiacono, Peter and Aucejo, Esteban M. and Coate, Patrick and Hotz, V. Joseph, Affirmative Action and University Fit: Evidence from Proposition 209 (November 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18523, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2173624

Peter Arcidiacono (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Esteban M. Aucejo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

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Patrick Coate

Duke University ( email )

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V. Joseph Hotz

Duke University ( email )

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