Affirmative Action at Public Universities Is Surprisingly Ineffective

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Over at 538, Hayley Munguia has an article titled “Here’s What Happens When You Ban Affirmative Action In College Admissions.” Her charts surprised me:

What surprised me was how little effect affirmative action policies seem to have. Both blacks and Hispanics are substantially underrepresented at public research universities, but their underrepresentation is nearly the same in states with and without affirmative action bans. There’s a small effect from the bans, but that’s all.

If this data is correct, it’s a little puzzling that either side feels as strongly as they do about affirmative action at public universities. If race-based policies have this little effect, maybe it really would be a good idea to try something different.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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