Top Economists Weigh In on Legacy Preferences

They see deserving students losing slots.

May 13, 2019

Amid the debate over the impact of legacy preferences in college admissions, the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business gave the question to its Economic Experts Panel. The panel consists of top economists throughout the United States who are interested in policy questions. The panel includes Democrats, Republicans and Independents and economists at various stages of their careers.

The economists responded to two questions -- and the responses to both questions raise questions about colleges that continue to favor in admissions those who are the children of alumni.

The first question asked was about the impact of legacy preferences on who is admitted -- and whether some academically strong applicants are "crowded out" by legacy applicants.

Then the economists were asked about the "net social effects" of legacy preferences, including factoring in that the preferences may encourage donations to colleges and universities.


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