16ersrevised - Mismatch in Law School 1 Jesse Rothstein *...

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Mismatch in Law School 1 Jesse Rothstein * and Albert Yoon Princeton University Northwestern University and NBER June 15, 2006 Abstract 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 range. There is no evidence from any comparison of mismatch effects on employment outcomes. 1 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; jrothst@princeton.edu School of Law, 357 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611; alberthyoon@law.northwestern.edu
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Mismatch in Law School Abstract 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 range. There is no evidence from any comparison of mismatch effects on employment outcomes.
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I. Introduction Most selective colleges in the United States give admissions preferences to black applicants. Favored students may thereby attend schools from which white applicants with identical credentials would be rejected. Critics have argued that these preferences bring in students who are inadequately prepared for the selective, competitive schools to which they gain access, and that the purported beneficiaries would do better—learn more, be more likely to graduate, avoid psychological damage, etc.—if they were admitted only to schools more appropriate for their qualifications (Summers, 1970; Sowell, 1978; Thernstrom and Thernstrom, 1997). 2
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16ersrevised - Mismatch in Law School 1 Jesse Rothstein *...

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