Tracing the Effects of Guaranteed Admission Through the College Process: Evidence from a Policy Discontinuity in the Texas 10% Plan

18 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2013

See all articles by Jason M. Fletcher

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs; Yale University - School of Public Health

Adalbert Mayer

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2014

Abstract

The Texas 10% law states that students who graduated among the top 10% of their high school class are guaranteed admission to public universities in Texas. We estimate the causal effects of this admissions guarantee on a sequence of connected decisions: students' application behavior, admission decisions by the university, students' enrollment choices conditional on admission; as well as the resulting college achievement. We identify these effects by comparing students just above and just below the top 10% rank cut off. We assume that other student characteristics and incentives are continuous at this cut off. We find that students react to incentives created by the admissions guarantee - for example, by reducing applications to competing private universities. The effects of the admissions guarantee depend on the university and the type of students it attracts. The 10% law is binding and alters the decisions of the admissions committees. We find little evidence that the law increases diversity or leads to meaningful mismatch for the marginal student admitted.

JEL Classification: I23, I28

Suggested Citation

Fletcher, Jason M. and Mayer, Adalbert, Tracing the Effects of Guaranteed Admission Through the College Process: Evidence from a Policy Discontinuity in the Texas 10% Plan (January 2014). Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 32, Issue 1, pp. 169-186, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2357207 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/coep.12011

Jason M. Fletcher (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States

Adalbert Mayer

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

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