NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Cameron Howell

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Working Papers

January 2003Legacies in Black and White: The Racial Composition of the Legacy Pool
with Sarah E. Turner: w9448
Selective universities regularly employ policies that favor children of alumni (known as legacies') in undergraduate admissions. Since alumni from selective colleges and universities have, historically, been disproportionately white, admissions policies that favor legacies have disproportionately benefited white students. For this reason, legacy policies lead to additional costs in terms of reductions in racial diversity. As larger numbers of minority students graduate from colleges and universities and have children, however, the potential pool of legacy applicants will change markedly in racial composition. This analysis begins with a review of the history and objectives of the preference for children of alumni in undergraduate admissions. We then consider the specific case of the Unive...

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