College Admission with Multidimensional Privileges: The Brazilian Affirmative Action Case

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Publication details

JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Microeconomics
DateAccepted/In press - 9 Jul 2020
Original languageEnglish


In 2012 Brazilian public universities were mandated to use affirmative action policies for candidates from racial and income minorities. We show that the policy makes the students' affirmative action status a strategic choice, and may reject high-achieving minority students while admitting low-achieving majority students. Empirical data shows evidence consistent with this type of unfairness in more than 49\% of the programs. We propose a selection criterion and an incentive-compatible mechanism that, for a wider range of similar problems and the one in Brazil in particular, removes any gain from strategizing over the privileges claimed and is fair.

    Research areas

  • mechanism design, matching with contracts, college admissions, affirmative action, diversity

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