The effect of minority preferences on the white applicant: A misplaced consensus?


In recent years, a consensus has developed among both affirmative action's advocates and opponents that in relation to the typical white applicant, the effects of minority preferencing are minimal. In this essay, the aim is to clarify the mathematics of affirmative action's impact on majority applicants, and to flag the distinction between that question and affirmative action's opportunity cost. First, the essay establishes the level of agreement among judges and academics on the triviality of affirmative action's effect on the regular white applicant's prospects of success. Second, it demonstrates how the prevailing position on the impact of minority preferencing on the white applicant is flawed - as regards both the calculation of relative admission likelihood and the application of the matriculant yield variable. Making use of a number of case studies reviewed in the literature, it shows how those studies, properly understood, convey a rather different picture of the arithmetic of minority preferencing. The essay concludes by challenging the tendency to take the effects of affirmative action (on both preferred and non-preferred applicants) as exclusively indicative of its costs.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 84,049

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.


Added to PP

11 (#885,963)

6 months
1 (#510,366)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references