What Levels of Racial Diversity can be Achieved with Socioeconomic-Based Affirmative Action? Evidence from a Simulation Model

Year of Publication: 
Forthcoming
Publication: 
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management

This paper investigates to what extent socioeconomic status (SES)-based affirmative action in college admissions can produce racial diversity. Using simulation models, we investigate the racial and socioeconomic distribution of students among colleges under the use of race- or SES-based affirmative action policies, and/or targeted, race-based recruitment policies. We find, first, that neither SES-based affirmative action nor race-targeted recruiting on their own produce levels of racial diversity achieved by race-based affirmative action. However, the two policies in combination, although likely expensive, may yield racial diversity comparable to race-based affirmative action. Second, the use of affirmative action policies by some colleges reduces the diversity of similar-quality colleges without such policies. Third, the combination of SES-based affirmative action and race recruiting results in fewer academically-overmatched Black and Hispanic students than under race-based affirmative action, but the schools that use both also see a reduction in the academic achievement of enrolled students.

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APA Citation

Reardon, S.F., Baker, R., Kasman, M., Klasik, D., & Townsend, J.B. (Forthcoming). What Levels of Racial Diversity can be Achieved with Socioeconomic-Based Affirmative Action? Evidence from a Simulation Model. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management