The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

581. John R. Lott & J. Mark Ramseyer, Peer Effects in Affirmative Action: Evidence from Law Student Performace, 03/2007; subsequently published in International Review of Law & Economics, Vol. 31, 2011, 1-15.

Abstract: In the Grutter case, Justice O'Connor suggested that universities could justifiably try to enroll a "critical mass" of minority students. Enroll fewer than that "critical mass," reason some observers, and minority students will feel too marginalized to perform at their highest levels. In this article, we test whether minority students perform better with other students from their ethnic group in a class or school. To do so, we assemble data on the ethnicity and performance of each student in all classes at two law schools -- for three years at one, and for sixteen years at the other. We find no consistent evidence that having additional students from one's ethnic group raises a student's performance. Instead, we find some evidence that having additional ethnic peers lowers performance -- albeit by a very small amount. (US, Canada).

581: PDF