Saturday, November 10, 2012
Schaefer (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
In the early to mid-2000s, four flagship Israeli selective universities introduced a voluntary need-blind and color-blind affirmative action policy for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The program allowed departments to offer admission to academically borderline applicants who were above a certain threshold of disadvantage. We examine the effect of eligibility for affirmative action on admission and matriculation outcomes using a regression discontinuity (RD) design. We show that students who were just barely eligible for this voluntary policy had a significantly higher probability of admission and enrollment, as compared to otherwise similar students. Furthermore, we show some evidence that eligibility for affirmative action is associated with higher grades and graduation rates, although only impacts on grades in the first year are significant. This suggests that the effects of any stigma due to receiving affirmative action in the Israeli context are limited.