Are University Admissions Academically Fair?
The Review of Economics and Statistics
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Bhattacharya, D., Kanaya, S., & Stevens, M. (2016). Are University Admissions Academically Fair?. The Review of Economics and Statistics https://doi.org/10.1162/REST_a_00618
Admission-practices at high-profile universities are often criticized for undermining academic merit. Popular tests for detecting such biases suffer from omitted characteristic bias. We develop a bounds-based test to circumvent this problem. We assume that students that are better-qualified on observables would, on average, appear academically stronger to admission-tutors based on unobservables. This assumption reveals the sign of differences in admission-standards across demographic groups which are robust to omitted characteristics. Applying our methods to admissions-data from a British university, we find higher admission standards for males and slightly higher ones for private-school applicants, despite equal admission success-probability across gender and school-background.
university admissions, affirmative action, economic efficiency, marginal admit, unobserved heterogeneity, threshold-crossing model, conditional stochastic dominance, partial identification
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1162/REST_a_00618
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/256795