Research and Analyses on the Impact of Proposition 209 in California
Proposition 209, passed in 1996, prohibited UC and other state entities from using race, ethnicity or sex as criteria in public employment, public contracting and public education. Since that time there have been a number of research articles written and analyses conducted to better understand the impact of this law in California. Below are some key research articles and data that examine the impact of Proposition 209 on public higher education, contracting and employment.1 A downloadable version of this content is available in the Annotated literature review in the Downloadable Resources. A summary of the highlighted research and data may also be found in the Downloadable Resources.
This analysis was conducted as a broad literature review in order to create a "solid starting point for all members of the community" who are interested in this topic (Paré & Kidsiou, 2017).2 The analysis is not exhaustive. The focus is on prior research that has been central to the discussion on affirmative action generally, and Proposition 209 in California specifically. Articles that were mentioned and cited frequently in the literature were selected for inclusion.
- Applications, Admissions and Enrollment
- Campus Climate
- Major Choice
- Medical Schools and Graduate Programs
- Mismatch Hypothesis
- Contracting and Workforce
- Asian Pacific Islanders
- Longitudinal Data Dashboards
Were minority students discouraged from applying to University of California campuses after the affirmative action ban?
"This paper uses student-level data to investigate how the college application behavior of underrepresented minorities (URMs) changed in response to the 1998 end of afﬁrmative action in admissions at the University of California (UC). We show that all URMs experienced a drop in their probability of admission to at least one UC campus. However, the relative decline in URM SAT score-sending rates—our proxy for application rates—was small and concentrated at Berkeley and UCLA among underrepresented minorities who experienced the largest relative drop in their predicted probability of admission. In addition, we ﬁnd some evidence of a shift toward less-selective UC campuses rather than out of the UC system. Overall, our paper highlights the stability of URM application behavior in the face of substantial declines in their admission rates."
Antonovics, K. & Backes, B. (2013). Were minority students discouraged from applying to University of California campuses after the affirmative action ban? Association for Education Finance and Policy, 8(2), 208-250. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/educfinapoli.8.2.208?seq=1
Affirmative action bans and the "chilling effect"
"This paper examines whether California's Proposition 209, which led to the 1998 ban on the use of racial preferences in admissions at the University of California (UC) system, lowered the value that underrepresented minorities placed on attending UC schools. In particular, we look for evidence of a chilling effect in minority yield rates (the probability of enrolling in a UC school conditional on being accepted) after Proposition 209. We find no evidence that yield rates fell for minorities relative to other students after Proposition 209, even after controlling for changes in student characteristics and changes in the set of UC schools to which students were admitted. In fact, our analysis suggests Proposition 209 had a modest 'warming effect'. We investigate and rule out the possibility that this warming effect was driven by changes in the selection of students who applied to the UC, changes in financial aid or changes in minorities' college opportunities outside the UC system. Instead, we present evidence consistent with the idea that Proposition 209 increased the signaling value of attending UC schools for minorities."
Antonovics, K. L., & Sander, R. H. (2013). Affirmative action bans and the "chilling effect". American Law and Economics Review, 15(1), 252-299. doi.org/10.1093/aler/ahs020
Diversity in university admissions: Affirmative action, top percent policies, and holistic review
"There is considerable interest in the impact of policy alternatives to race-based affirmative action (AA) on underrepresented minority (URM) university enrollment. Widely implemented alternatives include percent plans, which guarantee admission to top high school students, and holistic review, in which applications are evaluated on a comprehensive set of merits. This study estimates each policy's URM enrollment effect at the University of California (UC). AA increased annual UC URM enrollment by more than 700 students (12%), and by more than 60% at the Berkeley and UCLA campuses. Three years after UC's AA program ended in 1998, UC guaranteed admission to the top 4 percent of students from each California high school under its Eligibility in the Local Context program. ELC increased total URM enrollment among applicants annually by about 250, or 3.5%, primarily at three UC campuses. ELC largely ceased impacting UC enrollment after a 2012 reform, estimates show that several campuses' simultaneous switches to holistic review prevented URM enrollment decline. Six UC campuses have implemented holistic review, suggesting that each implementation increased URM enrollment at that campus by about 10%. While AA had a larger effect on URM enrollment than percent plans or holistic review, the latter policies have substantively mitigated URM enrollment declines at some UC campuses following AA's prohibition."
Bleemer, Z. (2019). Diversity in university admissions: Affirmative action, top percent policies, and holistic review. Research & Occasional Paper Series, Center for the Study of Higher Education, UC Berkeley. Retrieved from https://cshe.berkeley.edu/publications/diversity-university-admissions-affirmative-action-percent-plans-and-holistic-review
Affirmative action, mismatch, and economic mobility after California's Proposition 209
"This study analyzes Prop 209's impact on student outcomes at UC. Ending affirmative action caused UC's 10,000 annual underrepresented minority (URM) freshman applicants to cascade into lower-quality public and private universities. URM applicants' undergraduate and graduate degree attainment declined overall and in STEM fields, especially among lower-testing applicants. As a result, the average URM UC applicant's wages declined by five percent annually between ages 24 and 34. By the mid-2010s, Prop 209 had caused a cumulative decline in the number of early-career URM Californians earning over $100,000 by at least three percent. Prop 209 also deterred thousands of qualified URM students from applying to any UC campus. Enrolling at less-selective UC campuses did not improve URM students' performance or persistence in STEM course sequences. Complementary analyses suggest that affirmative action's net wage benefits for URM applicants exceed its (potentially small) net costs for on-the-margin white and Asian applicants. These findings are inconsistent with the university 'Mismatch Hypothesis' and provide the first causal evidence that banning affirmative action exacerbates socioeconomic inequities."
Bleemer, Z. (2020). Affirmative action, mismatch, and economic mobility after California's Proposition 209. Research & Occasional Paper Series, Center for the Study of Higher Education, UC Berkeley Retrieved from https://cshe.berkeley.edu/publications/affirmative-action-mismatch-and-economic-mobility-after-california%E2%80%99s-proposition-209
Understanding the impact of affirmative action bans in different graduate fields of study
"This study examines the effects of affirmative action bans in four states (California, Florida, Texas, and Washington) on the enrollment of under-represented students of color within six different graduate fields of study: the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, business, education, and humanities. Findings show that affirmative action bans have led to the greatest reductions in science-related fields of engineering, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. These declines pose serious long-term consequences for the United States since these fields provide specialized training critical to the nation's ability to compete effectively in a global market and for ensuring continued scientific and technological advancement."
Garces, L. M. (2013). Understanding the impact of affirmative action bans in different graduate fields of study. American Educational Research Journal, 50(2), 251-284. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/23526142?seq=1
The effects of affirmative action bans on college enrollment, educational attainment, and the demographic composition of universities
"I estimate the effects of afﬁrmative action bans on college enrollment, educational attainment, and college demographic composition by exploiting time and state variation in bans. I ﬁnd that bans have no effect on the typical student and the typical college, but they decrease underrepresented minority enrollment and increase white enrollment at selective colleges. In addition, I ﬁnd that the afﬁrmative action ban in California shifted underrepresented minority students from more selective campuses to less selective ones at the University of California."
Hinrichs, P. (2012). The effects of affirmative action bans on college enrollment, educational attainment, and the demographic composition of universities, The Review of Economics and Statistics, 94(3), 712-722. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/23261474?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
Alternative paths to diversity: Exploring and implementing effective college admissions policies
"The Supreme Court has established the parameters within which universities can practice race-conscious affirmative action for college admissions in a series of decisions beginning in 1978. The key issues concern the educational impact of campus diversity and whether or not it is necessary to give some consideration to students' race into order to produce a diverse student body in highly selective colleges. The most recent decision, Fisher v. University of Texas II, taken in June 2016, raised the question of whether there was a viable nonracial alternative policy that would produce the level of diversity for universities to realize the benefits of diverse learning experiences that are a central goal of the great majority of selective colleges and universities. The study concludes that the best evidence from the most recent social science studies and research syntheses show that the major proposed alternative policies are far less successful than affirmative action and thus do not meet the Court's definition of feasible alternatives. This conclusion led the Court to approve affirmative action."
Orfield, G. (Ed.). (2017). Alternative paths to diversity: Exploring and implementing effective college admissions policies (Research Report No. RR-17-40, pp. 2-13). Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/ets2.12121
Can socioeconomic status substitute for race in affirmative action college admissions policies? Evidence from a simulation model
"This paper simulates a system of socioeconomic status (SES)−based affirmative action in college admissions and examines the extent to which it can produce racial diversity in selective colleges. Using simulation models, we investigate the potential relative effects of race- and/or SES-based affirmative action policies on the racial and socioeconomic distribution of students in colleges. These simulations suggest 3 important patterns: (a) practical SES-based affirmative action policies do not yield nearly as much racial diversity as do race-based policies; (b) there is little evidence that affirmative action policies produce systemic academic mismatch; on average, affirmative action policies do not sort minority students into colleges for which they are academically unqualified; and (c) the use of affirmative action policies by some colleges affects enrollment patterns in other colleges."
Reardon, S. F., Baker, R., Kasman, M., Klasik, D., & Townsend, J. B. (2015). Can socioeconomic status substitute for race in affirmative action college admissions policies? Evidence from a simulation model. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service (ETS). Retrieved from http://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/reardon_white_paper.pdf
Minority Student Representation at UC
"This brief looks at the enrollment gaps for students from underrepresented groups (URGs) and a pipeline analysis of the racial/ethnic distribution of students at various points on the way to successful enrollment at UC. The enrollment gaps look at the share of high school graduates and share of high school graduates completing the A-G college prep curriculum compared to the share enrolling in UC. The pipeline analysis looks at the racial/ethnic distribution at 12th-grade enrollment, high school graduation, A-G completion, SAT completion, application, admission, enrollment to UC, and persistence to the second year at UC."
University of California Office of the President, Institutional Research and Academic Planning (IRAP) and Diversity and Engagement (D&E) https://www.ucop.edu/academic-affairs/_files/prop209-minority-student-representation-at-uc.pdf
Gap Analysis Chart
"This chart shows the gap between the share of CA public high school graduates who are from underrepresented groups (URGs) and the share of new UC freshman enrollees who are from URGs. The data cover the years from 1989 to 2016."
University of California Office of the President, Institutional Research and Academic Planning (IRAP) https://www.ucop.edu/academic-affairs/_files/prop209-gap-analysis-chart.pdf
Affirmative action in undergraduate education
"The use of race in college admissions is one of the most contentious issues in US higher education. We survey the literature on the impact of racial preferences in college admissions on both minority and majority students. With regard to minority students, particular attention is paid to the scope of preferences as well as how preferences affect graduation, choice of major, and labor market earnings. With regard to majority students, we examine the evidence on the returns to attending a more racially diverse school, as well as how racial preferences affect friendship formation."
Arcidiacono, P., Lovenheim, M., & Zhu, M. (2015). Affirmative action in undergraduate education. Annual Review of Economics, 7(1), 487-518. Retrieved from https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-economics-080614-115445
The salience of racial isolation: African Americans' and Latinos' perceptions of climate and enrollment choices with and without Proposition 209
"The data in Part I constitutes a natural experiment that calls into question the validity of the stigma critique of affirmative action, by showing that underrepresented minority students actually feel less respected at the University of California than at peer research universities. The data in Part II support the 'chilling effect' hypothesis and call into question other recent claims of economists who assert — without the benefit of the data on selective private universities reviewed herein — that Prop 209, by reducing stigma, brought about a mild "warming effect" in freshmen enrollment yield at UC."
Kidder, W. C. (2012). The Salience of Racial Isolation: African Americans' and Latinos' perceptions of climate and enrollment choices with and without Proposition 209. Los Angeles, CA: Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles. Retrieved from http://civilrightsproject.ucla.edu
Misshaping the river: Proposition 209 and lessons for the Fisher case"This article advances the following findings and conclusions:
- Lesson #1 — At the University of California, which is subject to an affirmative action ban, recent survey data from eight campuses confirms that the campus racial climate is significantly more inhospitable for African Americans and Latinos than at UT Austin and two other peer universities.
- Lesson #2 — Contrary to recent claims by groups opposing affirmative action, Proposition 209 ("Prop 209") triggered a series of educationally harmful 'chilling effects.'
- Lesson #3 — Affirmative action critics supporting Petitioner are propagating two related myths about credentials and performance.
- Lesson #4 — While some argue in favor of class-based affirmative action in lieu of race-conscious programs, UC’s atypically large enrollment of low-income undergraduates is strong 'natural experiment' evidence verifying that class-based policies are not effective substitutes for race-conscious policies.
- Lesson #5 — The experience of UC Business Schools and UC Law Schools after Proposition 209 provide compelling case studies regarding the need for race-conscious affirmative action."
Kidder, W. C. (2013). Misshaping the river: Proposition 209 and lessons for the Fisher case. Journal of College and University Law, 39, 53. Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2123653
State affirmative action bans and STEM degree completions
"This paper investigates the effect of statewide aﬃrmative action bans on minority STEM degree completions at US public four-year colleges. The number of minority students completing STEM degrees at highly selective colleges falls by 19% ﬁve years after aﬃrmative action bans, while there is no change in the total number of students completing STEM degrees. This indicates that a nontrivial number of minority students who were only admitted to highly selective colleges because of aﬃrmative action graduate in STEM during periods of race preferences in college admissions. There is no convincing evidence of effects at moderately selective colleges."
Hill, A. J. (2017). State affirmative action bans and STEM degree completions. Economics of Education Review, 57, 31-40. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272775715301321
Racial diversity in the medical profession: The impact of affirmative action bans on underrepresented student of color matriculation in medical schools
"This study examines the impact of affirmative action bans in six states (California, Washington, Florida, Texas, Michigan, and Nebraska) on the matriculation rates of historically underrepresented students of color in public medical schools in these states. Findings show that affirmative action bans have led to about a decline in the first-time matriculation of medical school students who are underrepresented students of color. This decline is similar to drops in the enrollment of students of color that have taken place across other educational sectors, including the nation’s most selective public undergraduate institutions, law schools, and various graduate fields of study, after bans on affirmative action were enacted in some of these states. The findings suggest that statewide laws banning the consideration of race in postsecondary admissions pose serious obstacles for the medical profession to address the health-care crisis facing the nation."
Garces, L. M., & Mickey-Pabello, D. (2015). Racial diversity in the medical profession: The impact of affirmative action bans on underrepresented student of color matriculation in medical schools. Journal of Higher Education, 86(2), 264-294. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00221546.2015.11777364?casa_token=mlHrQnjOloMAAAAA:bo_Ak_R5-6wVATk3e0s42_QTaqDxVEBNg0bZ5nqhzuyXQUuZ_dXaSkIw_AMzyG5zxxmMzWQ9Koznbg
Addressing racial health inequities: Understanding the impact of affirmative action bans on applications and admissions in medical schools
"Racial and ethnic student body diversity is essential for medical schools to serve their educational mission of addressing racial and ethnic health inequities in the United States. Yet bans on the practice of afﬁrmative action in six states have led to declines in students of color enrolled in medical schools. In this article, we examine prior stages that contribute to enrollment declines—namely, applications and admissions—to better inform educational policies that seek to address the negative consequences of afﬁrmative action bans. Findings suggest that a focus on institutional actors at the admissions stage is an important lever for medical schools seeking to address the nation's racial health disparities."
Mickey-Pabello, D., & Garces, L. M. (2018). Addressing racial health inequities: Understanding the impact of affirmative action bans on applications and admissions in medical schools. American Journal of Education, 125, 79-108. Retrieved from https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/699813
Assessing the "mismatch" hypothesis: Differences in college graduation rates by institutional selectivity
"This article evaluates the 'mismatch' hypothesis, advocated by opponents of affirmative action, which predicts lower graduation rates for minority students who attend selective post-secondary institutions than for those who attend colleges and universities where their academic credentials are better matched to the institutional average. Using two nationally representative longitudinal surveys and a unique survey of students who were enrolled at selective and highly selective institutions, the authors tested the mismatch hypothesis by implementing a robust methodology that jointly considered enrollment in and graduation from selective institutions as interrelated outcomes. The findings do not support the 'mismatch' hypothesis for black and Hispanic (as well as white and Asian) students who attended college during the 1980s and early 1990s."
Alon, S., & Tienda, M. (2005). Assessing the "mismatch" hypothesis: Differences in college graduation rates by institutional selectivity. Sociology of Education, 78(4), 294-315. doi.org/10.1177/003804070507800402
Affirmative action and the quality-fit trade-off
"This paper reviews the literature on affirmative action in undergraduate education and law schools, focusing especially on the trade-off between institutional quality and the fit between a school and a student. We discuss the conditions under which affirmative action for underrepresented minorities (URMs) could help or harm their educational outcomes. We provide descriptive evidence on the extent of affirmative action in law schools, as well as a critical review of the contentious literature on how affirmative action affects URM law-school student performance. Our review then discusses affirmative action in undergraduate admissions, focusing on the effects such admissions preferences have on college quality, graduation rates, college major, and earnings. We conclude by examining the evidence on 'percent plans' as a replacement for affirmative action."
Arcidiacono, P., & Lovenheim, M. (2016). Affirmative action and the quality-fit trade-off. Journal of Economic Literature, 54(1), 3-51. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jel.54.1.3
University differences in the graduation of minorities in STEM fields: Evidence from California
"We examine differences in minority science graduation rates among University of California campuses when racial preferences were in place. Less prepared minorities at higher ranked campuses had lower persistence rates in science and took longer to graduate. We estimate a model of students' college major choice where net returns of a science major differ across campuses and student preparation. We find less prepared minority students at top ranked campuses would have higher science graduation rates had they attended lower ranked campuses. Better matching of science students to universities by preparation and providing information about students' prospects in different major-university combinations could increase minority science graduation."
Arcidiacono, P., Aucejo, E. M., & Hotz, V. J. (2016). University differences in the graduation of minorities in STEM fields: Evidence from California. American Economic Review, 106(3), 525-62. Retrieved from https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.20130626
The consequences of academic match between students and colleges
"We consider the effects of student ability, college quality, and the interaction between the two on academic outcomes and future earnings. Both ability and college quality strongly improve outcomes and earnings. We find little evidence to support the 'mismatch' hypothesis that college quality and ability interact in substantively important ways. All students benefit from attending higher quality colleges. Our estimates imply that resorting students to eliminate mismatch, without changing the capacity of any colleges, would raise expected graduation rates by only 0.6 percentage points and mean earnings by $400 per year. The substantial gains for students who move to higher quality colleges under this reshuffling roughly cancel out the losses of students who move down."
Dillon, E. W., & Smith, J. A. (2017). The consequences of academic match between students and colleges. CESifo Working Paper Series 6344. Retrieved from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_6344.html
The effects of affirmative action in higher education
"We analyze the effects of affirmative action on college outcomes for among the 1999 cohort of freshmen in 28 selective colleges and universities. We develop indices of affirmative action at the individual and institutional levels to test the validity of two charges leveled by critics of affirmative action: that it undermines minority performance by placing academically unprepared students into competitive schools without the required skills and abilities (the mismatch hypothesis) and that it stigmatizes all minorities as academically challenged and intellectually weak to produce added psychological pressure that undermines academic performance (the stereotype threat hypothesis). We find no evidence for the mismatch hypothesis. If anything, individual students with SAT scores below the institutional average do better than other students, other things equal. We do, however, find evidence consistent with the hypothesis of stereotype threat, although the effect is not particularly strong compared with other determinants of academic success."
Fischer, M. J., & Massey, D. S. (2007). The effects of affirmative action in higher education. Social Science Research, 36(2), 531-549. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2006.04.004
Does the "mismatch hypothesis" apply to Hispanic students at selective colleges?
"The purpose of this chapter is to investigate whether the mismatch hypothesis characterizes the academic performance of Hispanic students at selective colleges and universities. According to the mismatch hypothesis, attending a more academically selective institution should lower a student's chances of graduating within six years and also lower her class rank at graduation, holding constant indicators of a student's college academic preparedness and other background characteristics. Data to test these hypotheses come from a set of selective colleges and universities throughout the United States."
Golann, J. W., Gentsch, K., Chung, C. Y., & Espenshade, T. J. (2012). Does the "mismatch hypothesis" apply to Hispanic students at selective colleges? Working Papers 31, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Education Research Section. Retrieved from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pri/edures/31.html
The effects of affirmative action bans on college enrollment, educational attainment, and the demographic composition of universities
"This paper estimates the effects of statewide afﬁrmative action bans on graduation rates within colleges and on the fraction of college entrants who become graduates of selective institutions. On net, afﬁrmative action bans lead to fewer underrepresented minorities becoming graduates of selective colleges. Although the graduation rates for underrepresented minority groups at selective institutions rise when afﬁrmative action is banned, this may be due to the changing composition of students at these universities. Moreover, this effect is small relative to the number displaced from selective universities due to afﬁrmative action bans."
Hinrichs, P. (2012) The effects of affirmative action bans on college enrollment, educational attainment, and the demographic composition of universities. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 94(3), 712-722. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/23261474?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
Mismatch and the paternalistic justification for selective college admission
"Although some scholars report that all students are better served by attending more prestigious postsecondary institutions, others have argued that students are better off attending colleges where they are about average in terms of academic ability and suffer worse outcomes if they attend schools that are 'out of their league' at which they are 'overmatched.' The latter argument is most frequently deployed as a paternalistic justification for ending affirmative action. We take advantage of a natural admissions experiment at the University of California to test the effect of being overmatched for students on the mar-gin of admission to elite universities. Consistent with the mismatch hypothesis, we find that students accumulate more credits when they attend less demanding institutions. However, students do not earn higher grades and are no more or less likely to drop out of schools where they are overmatched and are less likely to drop out than they would have been had they attended less demanding institutions."
Kurlaender, M., & Grodsky, E. (2013). Mismatch and the paternalistic justification for selective college admissions. Sociology of Education, 86(4). 294-310. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/0038040713500772
Mismatch and academic performance at America's selective colleges and universities
"American selective colleges and universities use affirmative action policies to achieve diversity, given blacks and Latinos have somewhat lower SAT scores than their Asian and white peers. Critics of affirmative action argue that this results in lower grades and greater dropout among underrepresented minority groups. We examine the relationship between SAT mismatch and college outcomes for students at selective institutions. We find that mismatch is not associated with graduation from a selective institution, but is associated with lower grades. The negative relationship between mismatch and grades holds for all racial-ethnic groups, not just blacks and Latinos, and is less predictive of academic performance than is high school grade point average. Thus, although mismatch may lower performance at selective colleges, it does not appear to prevent students who may have benefitted from affirmative action from obtaining important credentials from America's elite educational institutions."
Lutz, A., Bennett, P. R., & Wang, R. (2018). Mismatch and academic performance at America's selective colleges and universities. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 41(14), 2599-2614. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01419870.2017.1392030
Mismatch: How affirmative action hurts students it’s intended to help, and why universities won’t admit it
"Sander and Taylor have long admired affirmative action's original goals, but after many years of studying racial preferences, they have reached a controversial but undeniable conclusion: that preferences hurt underrepresented minorities far more than they help them. At the heart of affirmative action's failure is a simple phenomenon called mismatch. Using dramatic new data and numerous interviews with affected former students and university officials of color, the authors show how racial preferences often put students in competition with far better-prepared classmates, dooming many to fall so far behind that they can never catch up. Mismatch largely explains why, even though black applicants are more likely to enter college than whites with similar backgrounds, they are far less likely to finish; why there are so few black and Hispanic professionals with science and engineering degrees and doctorates; why black law graduates fail bar exams at four times the rate of whites; and why universities accept relatively affluent minorities over working class and poor people of all races.
Sander and Taylor believe it is possible to achieve the goal of racial equality in higher education, but they argue that alternative policies—such as full public disclosure of all preferential admission policies, a focused commitment to improving socioeconomic diversity on campuses, outreach to minority communities, and a renewed focus on K-12 schooling—will go farther in achieving that goal than preferences, while also allowing applicants to make informed decisions. Bold, controversial, and deeply researched, Mismatch calls for a renewed examination of this most divisive of social programs—and for reforms that will help realize the ultimate goal of racial equality.”
Sander, R., & Taylor Jr., S. (2012). Mismatch: How affirmative action hurts students it’s intended to help, and why universities won’t admit it. Basic Books.
An analysis of the impact of affirmative action programs on self-employment in the construction industry
"The main findings of this paper are that despite the existence of various affirmative action programs designed to improve the position of women and minorities in public construction, little has changed in the last twenty-five years. We present evidence showing that where race conscious affirmative action programs exist they appear to generate significant improvements: when these programs are removed or replaced with race-neutral programs the utilization of minorities and women in public construction declines rapidly. We show that the programs have not helped minorities to become self-employed or to raise their earnings over the period 1979-2004, but have improved the position of white females. There has been a growth in incorporated self-employment rates of white women in construction such that currently their rate is significantly higher than that of white men. The data are suggestive of the possibility that some of these companies are 'fronts' which are actually run by their white male spouses or sons to take advantage of the affirmative action programs."
Blanchflower, D. G., & Wainwright, J. (2005). An analysis of the impact of affirmative action programs on self-employment in the construction industry. National Bureau of Economic Research, working paper 11793. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5136106_An_Analysis_of_the_Impact_of_Affirmative_Action_Programs_on_Self-Employment_in_the_Construction_Industry
Affirmative action, major choice, and long-run impacts
"Prior studies of the medium-run outcomes of universities' race-based affirmative action (AA) policies have been challenged by highly-censored data availability. This study analyzes a novel highly-detailed database of University of California (UC) applications in the years before and after its AA policy ended in 1998, linked to national degree attainment, state earnings records, and five universities' complete student transcripts. First, I show that ending AA caused substantial and persistent educational and labor market deterioration among URM UC applicants: each of UC's 10,000 annual URM freshman applicants' likelihood of earning a Bachelor's degree declined by 1.3 percentage points, their likelihood of earning any graduate degree declined 1.4 p.p., and their likelihood of earning at least $100,000 in each year between ages 30 and 37 declined by about 1 p.p. per year. These results imply that affirmative action's end decreased the number of age 30-to-34 URM Californians earning over $100,000 by at least 2.5 percent. Second, I show that ending AA did not improve URM students' relative performance or persistence in core physical, biological, or mathematical science courses, within or across impacted universities. These findings suggest that state prohibitions on university affirmative action policies have modestly exacerbated American socioeconomic inequities."
Bleemer, Z. (2019). Affirmative action, major choice, and long-run impacts. Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3484530
The impact of Proposition 209 on California's MWBEs: One billion in contract dollars lost annually by businesses owned by women and people of color due to Proposition 209
"This study attempts to quantify the impact by measuring the loss in contract dollars to those businesses. Proposition 209 caused the state and local governments to end their race-conscious contracting programs, resulting in a loss of $1 billion to $1.1 billion annually for minority and women business enterprises."
Lohrentz, T. (2015). The impact of Proposition 209 on California’s MWBEs: One billion in contract dollars lost annually by businesses owned by women and people of color due to Proposition 209. Oakland, CA: Equal Justice Society. Retrieved from https://equaljusticesociety.org/2015/02/24/one-billion-in-potential-contract-dollars-lost-annually-by-businesses-owned-by-women-and-people-of-color-due-to-proposition-209/#:~:text=Proposition%20209%20not%20only%20ended,previously%20been%20collecting%20that%20data
How costly is affirmative action? Government contracting and California's Proposition 209
"Despite the magnitude and controversial nature of aﬃrmative action programs in contracting, surprisingly little is known about the cost they may impose on the government. This paper uses California's Proposition 209, which prohibited the consideration of race or gender in state-funded contracts, to investigate the eﬀect of disadvantaged business enterprise subcontractor participation goals on the winning bids for highway construction contracts. After Proposition 209, the prices on state funded contracts fell by 5.6 percent relative to federally funded projects, for which preferences still applied. While the subcontractor requirements are found to distort the contractor's make-versus-buy decision, most of the decline in costs after Proposition 209 results from the productivity of subcontractors employed. This seems to arise not from productivity diﬀerences between minority and non-minority ﬁrms in the same location, but from the higher costs of ﬁrms located in high-minority areas. Lastly, I provide evidence that short-run barriers to entry and expansion for minority- and women-owned ﬁrms may increase the cost of aﬃrmative action."
Marion, J. (2009). How costly is affirmative action? Government contracting and California’s Proposition 209. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 91(3), 503-522. Retrieved from https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/rest.91.3.503?journalCode=rest#authorsTabList
Free to compete? Measuring the impact of Proposition 209 on minority business enterprises
"In 2006, the Discrimination Research Center (DRC) set out to measure the impact of Proposition 209 on businesses that were certified as minority business enterprise in 1996. Free to Compete? intends to clarify how Caltrans' race-conscious affirmative action program affected transportation construction companies owned by people of color both before and after Proposition 209."
Morris, M. W., Thanasombat, S., Sumner, M. D., Pierre, S., & Borja, J. Z. (2006). Free to compete? Measuring the impact of Proposition 209 on minority business enterprises. Berkeley, CA: Discrimination Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/thcsj/Free_to_Compete.pdf
A cure for discrimination? Affirmative action and the case of California Proposition 209
"Proposition 209, enacted in California in 1996 and made effective the following year, ended state affirmative action programs not only in education, but also for public employment and government contracting. This paper uses CPS data to gauge the labor market impacts of ending affirmative action programs. Employment among women and minorities dropped sharply, a change that was nearly completely explained by a decline in participation rather than by increases in unemployment. This decline suggests that either affirmative action programs in California had been inefficient or that they failed to create lasting change in prejudicial attitudes."
Myers, C. K. (2005). A cure for discrimination? Affirmative action and the case of California Proposition 209. ILR Review, 60(3), 379-396. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/001979390706000304
Proposition 209 and public employment in California: Trends in workforce diversity
"Passed in 1996, Proposition 209 ended most forms of traditional affirmative action in public education, employment, and contracting. We investigated trends in public employment since 1990, in order to analyze the impact of Proposition 209 on workforce diversity in public employment. In California, initial evidence suggests that Proposition 209 may have limited workforce diversity for people of color and women statewide."
Sumner, M. D. (2008). Proposition 209 and public employment in California: Trends in workforce diversity. Berkeley, CA: Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, Berkeley Law. Retrieved from https://www.law.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Proposition-209-and-Public-Employment-Workforce-Diversity.pdf
Asian Americans and race-conscious admissions: Understanding the conservative opposition's strategy of misinformation, intimidation & racial division
"This report examines the current wave of attacks against race-conscious policies in postsecondary admissions (or affirmative action as the policy is more commonly termed). This report focuses specifically on the roles that Asian Americans have come to play, both unwillingly and willingly, in these opposition efforts, and presents new research on Asian Americans' support for affirmative action. Despite efforts by white affirmative action opponents to assert their agenda as one advocating for Asian American rights, and media accounts characterizing the Chinese Americans involved in opposition efforts as representative of Asian Americans in general, best evidence shows that the majority of Asian Americans across ethnicities support affirmative action."
Garces, L. M., & Poon, O. (2018). Asian Americans and race-conscious admissions: Understanding the conservative opposition’s strategy of misinformation, intimidation & racial division. Los Angeles, CA: Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles. Retrieved from https://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/college-access/affirmative-action/asian-americans-and-race-conscious-admissions-understanding-the-conservative-opposition2019s-strategy-of-misinformation-intimidation-racial-division
Asian Americans, admissions, and college choice: An empirical test of claims of harm used in federal investigations
"The Coalition of Asian American Associations (CAAA) and Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE), two small but vocal groups of Asian Americans, have argued against affirmative action practices. One of their more prominent claims is that Asian American applicants who are not accepted and do not attend their first-choice colleges face a multitude of negative consequences; a claim that has become the impetus for the current U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into the college admissions process at a number of universities. This study empirically tests the claims made by CAAA (2015) and AACE (2016) with particular attention to the differences in Asian American student outcomes, relative to their college admissions and choice decisions. Our findings indicate a limited, if any, statistical difference between Asian American groups that attend differing choice institutions."
Nguyen, M. H., Chang, C. Y., Kim, V., Gutierrez, R. E., Le, A., Dumas, D., & Teranishi, R. T. (2020). Asian Americans, admissions, and college choice: An empirical test of claims of harm used in federal investigations. Educational Researcher. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X20933288
Haunted by negative action: Asian Americans, admissions, and race in the "color-blind era"
"This article provides a summary of the 2009 UC eligibility policy and discusses concerns raised by Asian American leaders, providing a critical analysis of the policy’s impact on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) applicants. The article concludes with a commentary on the need for a sustained AAPI education advocacy organization to provide proactive analysis and leadership on education policy."
Poon, O. A. (2009). Haunted by negative action: Asian Americans, admissions, and race in the "color-blind era." Asian American Policy Review, 18, 81-90. https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&u=googlescholar&id=GALE|A210520241&v=2.1&it=r&sid=AONE&asid=c049cb3a
Undergraduate Admissions Summary Dashboard
This dashboard shows applicants, admits and enrollees from 1994 to present, by race/ethnicity category. This covers substantial time periods before and after the 1998 implementation of Prop. 209.
University of California Office of the President, Institutional Research and Academic Planning (IRAP) https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/admissions-residency-and-ethnicity
Freshman Admissions Summary Dashboard
This dashboard shows freshman applicants, admits and enrollees by race/ethnicity, gender, residency, school type and other categories. Data are from 1994 to present, showing both pre- and post-Prop. 209 cohorts.
University of California Office of the President, Institutional Research and Academic Planning (IRAP) https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/freshman-admissions-summary
Transfer Admissions Summary Dashboard
This dashboard shows transfer applicants, admits and enrollees by race/ethnicity, gender, residency, school type and other categories. Data are from 1994 to present, showing both pre- and post-Prop. 209 cohorts.
University of California Office of the President, Institutional Research and Academic Planning (IRAP) https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/transfer-admissions-summary
Admissions by Source School Dashboard
This dashboard shows freshman and transfer applicants for each high school/community college in California, with breakdowns by race/ethnicity, gender and high school GPA. Data are from 1994 to present, showing both pre- and post-Prop. 209 cohorts.
University of California Office of the President, Institutional Research and Academic Planning (IRAP) https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/admissions-source-school
Workforce Diversity Dashboard
This dashboard shows the number of faculty and staff by gender, race/ethnicity and age over time. Data are from 2009 to present, all in the post-Prop. 209 era.
University of California Office of the President, Institutional Research and Academic Planning (IRAP) https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/uc-workforce-diversity
These charts show the gender and racial/ethnic composition of 12th-graders, high school graduates, high school graduates completing the A-G college prep curriculum, applicants, admits and enrollees at UC, and persistence to the second year at UC, for the most recent year available.
University of California Office of the President, Institutional Research and Academic Planning (IRAP), Annual Accountability Report 2020, https://accountability.universityofcalifornia.edu/2020/chapters/chapter-7.html#7.1.1, https://accountability.universityofcalifornia.edu/2020/chapters/chapter-7.html#7.1.2
Graduate Student Pipeline
These charts show the race/ethnicity and gender distribution of U.S. BA/BS recipients and applicants, admits and enrollees in UC academic doctoral programs for the most recent year available.
University of California Office of the President, Institutional Research and Academic Planning (IRAP), Annual Accountability Report 2020, https://accountability.universityofcalifornia.edu/2020/chapters/chapter-7.html#AAR7.2.1, https://accountability.universityofcalifornia.edu/2020/chapters/chapter-7.html#AAR7.2.2
Diversity of the University Community
These charts look at the racial/ethnic composition of the student body and ladder-rank faculty at UC (with a comparison to assistant professors at hire).
University of California Office of the President, Institutional Research and Academic Planning (IRAP), Annual Accountability Report 2020, https://accountability.universityofcalifornia.edu/2020/chapters/chapter-7.html#7.3.1, https://accountability.universityofcalifornia.edu/2020/chapters/chapter-7.html#7.3.2
1The articles listed here are only a sample and do not represent a comprehensive collection of all research conducted on this subject.
2Paré G, Kitsiou S. Chapter 9 Methods for Literature Reviews. In: Lau F, Kuziemsky C, editors. Handbook of eHealth Evaluation: An Evidence-based Approach [Internet]. Victoria (BC): University of Victoria; 2017 Feb 27. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK481583/