NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Color-Blind Affirmative Action

Roland Fryer, Glenn C. Loury, Tolga Yuret

NBER Working Paper No. 10103
Issued in November 2003
NBER Program(s):   LS

This paper presents a conceptual framework for understanding the consequences of the widespread adoption of race-neutral alternatives' to conventional racial affirmative action policies in college admissions. A simple model of applicant competition with endogenous effort is utilized to show that, in comparison to color-conscious affirmative action, these color-blind alternatives can significantly lower the efficiency of the student selection process in equilibrium. We examine data on matriculates at several selective colleges and universities to estimate the magnitudes involved. It is shown that the short-run efficiency losses of implementing color-blind affirmative action (in our sample) are four to five times as high as color-conscious affirmative action.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10103

Published: Fryer, Roland G., Jr., Glenn C. Loury, and Tolga Yuret. "An Economic Analysis of Color-Blind Affirmative Action." Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 24, 2 (October 2008): 319-55.

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