The Effects of Affirmative Action Bans on Low-Income College Access and Upward Mobility

Posted: 29 Jan 2018 Last revised: 17 Feb 2018

Date Written: January 21, 2018

Abstract

In recent years, many states in the U.S. have banned race-based affirmative action in college admissions. Public universities in these states have put more weight on socioeconomic factors, such as family income, to ensure a diverse student body without the explicit consideration of race. This paper investigates whether statewide affirmative action bans improve college access for low-income students and subsequently help them climb the economic ladder. Using institution-level data, I find that the elimination of race-based preferences increases the enrollment share of low-income and first-generation students at selective public universities. The positive impact on college access is driven by low-income Asian students. Banning the use of race in admissions also raises the upward mobility rate, which measures the extent to which an institution contributes to intergenerational income mobility.

Keywords: Affirmative Action, College Access, Intergenerational Mobility

JEL Classification: I23, I24, I28, J62

Suggested Citation

Kwon, Sungoh, The Effects of Affirmative Action Bans on Low-Income College Access and Upward Mobility (January 21, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3106451

Sungoh Kwon (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

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