Calif.’s Racial-Preferences Ban Sharply Cut Black Admissions at Law Schools

California’s 1996 ban on race-conscious college admissions reduced by half black admission rates at two of the state’s top law schools, according to a paper released on Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The paper used data on a sample of graduates from an elite college to estimate the effect of the ban on black admissions outcomes at law schools of the University of California’s Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses. It said that the ban had reduced the black admission rate from 61 percent to 31 percent.

The paper estimated, however, that the two law schools still sustained some advantages for black applicants under the ban, saying that “black admission rates would have fallen to 8% (not just 31%) had all races been subjected to observed pre-ban white admission standards based on LSAT, GPA, and inferred strength.”

The paper is available to NBER subscribers here.

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