Mismatch in Law School
June 15, 2006
An important criticism of race-based admissions preferences is that they may hurt minority
students who are thereby induced to attend selective schools.
We use two comparisons to
identify so-called “mismatch” effects in law schools, with consistent results.
There is no
evidence of mismatch effects on graduation or bar passage rates of black students above the
bottom quintile of the entering credentials distribution.
The data are consistent with
mismatch effects for bottom-quintile black students but do not demonstrate the importance
of these effects, as sample selection bias is a potentially important confounding factor in this
There is no evidence from any comparison of mismatch effects on employment
We thank Rick Abel, Bill Bowen, Lee Epstein, Tom Kane, Larry Katz, Andrew Martin, Jide Nzelibe,
Max Schanzenbach, Nancy Staudt, and seminar participants at NBER, UCSB, Duke, Vassar, the Universities of
Michigan and Virginia, Northwestern, Washington University, and the Ramon Areces Foundation for helpful
comments and suggestions.
We are extremely grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for financial
support and to Jessica Goldberg and Ashley Miller for excellent research assistance.
Industrial Relations Section, Firestone Library, Princeton, NJ 08544; firstname.lastname@example.org
School of Law, 357 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL