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|Title: ||"Affirmative Action in Law School Admissions: What Do Racial Preferences Do?"|
|Authors: ||Rothstein, Jesse|
Yoon, Albert H.
|Issue Date: ||Mar-2007|
|Series/Report no.: ||20|
|Abstract: ||The Supreme Court has held repeatedly that race-based preferences in public
university admissions are constitutional. But debates over the wisdom of
affirmative action continue. Opponents of these policies argue that preferences
are detrimental to minority students—that by placing these students in
environments that are too competitive, affirmative action hurts their academic and
This article examines the so-called “mismatch” hypothesis in the context of
law school admissions. We discuss the existing scholarship on mismatch,
identifying methodological limitations of earlier attempts to measure the effects of
affirmative action. Using a simpler, more robust analytical strategy, we find that
the data are inconsistent with large mismatch effects, particularly with respect to
employment outcomes. While moderate mismatch effects are possible, they are
concentrated among the students with the weakest entering academic credentials.
To put our estimates in context, we simulate admissions under race-blind
rules. Eliminating affirmative action would dramatically reduce the number of
black law students, particularly at the most selective schools. Many potentially
successful black law students would be excluded, far more than the number who
would be induced to pass the bar exam by the elimination of mismatch effects.
Accordingly, we find that eliminating affirmative action would dramatically
reduce the production of black lawyers.|
|Appears in Collections:||ERS Working Papers|
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