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Unintended Consequences of Affirmative Action in Undergraduate Education for High School Students

AuthorsMello, Úrsula
Issue Date26-Jun-2020
CitationEALE SOLE AASLE World Conference (2020)
AbstractAffirmative action initiatives in higher education have been implemented to improve access of vulnerable groups and to reduce inequality in educational attainment. A growing empirical literature has investigated how such policies impact college students’ outcomes and pre-college human capital accumulation. Yet, little is known about how they affect students’ choice of high school and, consequently, future outcomes related to this decision. I study this question in the context of Brazil, one of the most unequal countries in the world, and where the government approved, in 2012, the "Quota Law (QL)”. It established that fifty percent of all vacancies in each major and federal higher education institution, including some of the best universities in the country, has to be reserved to students that attended secondary education integrally in a public school. I show that the adoption of QL increases strategic mobility from private to public schools by as much as 34 to 43% percent and that the movers come disproportionately from low-SES and low-quality private schools. Furthermore, strategizing seems a costly decision, as students move to schools that are 1.1 standard deviations poorer and 0.77 standard deviations worse in average performance. In spite of that, the overall effect of QL on persistence rates of private school students is positive and driven by the movers, suggesting either a change in effort level or a better match between students and schools.
DescriptionTrabajo presentado en la EALE SOLE AASLE World Conference, celebrada del 25 al 27 de junio de 2020
Appears in Collections:(IAE) Comunicaciones congresos
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