A rancorous debate continues to rage over the use of affirmative action policies in college admissions. This paper uses a simple signaling model to evaluate the labor market impacts of four types of affirmative action admissions policies. Race-based preferential policies and policies guaranteeing admission based on high school academic rank may induce discrimination in labor markets when there exists strong heterogeneity in socio-economic disadvantage within the under-represented minority group. Under such conditions, it may also be difficult to realize ethnic diversity with disadvantage-based preferential policies. The paper argues instead for affirmative action policies emphasizing intensive college preparation for targeted groups.
Bruce Wydick. Affirmative Action in College Admissions: Examining Labor Market Effects of Four Alternative Policies. Contemporary Economic Policy (January 2002), vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 12-24. DOI: 10.1093/cep/20.1.12