DP6278 | The Distributional Consequences of Diversity-Enhancing University Admissions Rules

Publication Date


JEL Code(s)


Programme Area(s)


This paper examines public attitudes towards university admissions rules by focusing on the imposition of the costs of racial diversity across majority citizens. High-income majority citizens, who tend to have better academic qualifications, favour more diversity under affirmative action, which imposes its costs on marginal majority candidates. Lower-income majority citizens prefer less diversity under affirmative action and would rather achieve diversity by de-emphasizing academic qualifications. Increasing income inequality among majority citizens tends to reduce the median citizen's support for affirmative action. Our results explain why affirmative action has become increasing uppopular among white voters, and why white voters who oppose affirmative action may support top-x-percent rules like those recently introduced in Texas, California and Florida.