Affirmative Action Outcomes - Evidence from a Law School in Brazil

Produced by: 
University of Sao Paulo
Available from: 
December 2016
Paper author(s): 
Ana Ribeiro
Topic: 
Education - Health
Year: 
2017

The main goal of affirmative action (AA) policies is to give opportunities otherwise nonexistent to minorities and underprivileged students. In this paper, I investigate whether the introduction of college affirmative action policy enables AA candidates to obtain a career in Law and to catch up with high scoring candidates who did not get admitted due to the policy (i.e., displaced candidates). To do so, I use a new dataset from a large university in Rio de Janeiro, the first in Brazil to adopt the quota system for both black and public school students. This dataset is combined with the OAB exam passage records, equivalent to the American Bar exam. Preliminary results suggest that the quota policy improves OAB passage rates for beneficiaries. I find that lawyer certification for underprivileged students increases by 33 p.p., even though they underperform by 7.68 p.p when compared to displaced candidates. I also present evidence that displaced candidates do not experience any drop on their OAB exam passage rates due to the policy. Furthermore, I find that public school quota beneficiaries who score close to the admittance cutoff score present an increase in the probability of passing the OAB exam by up to 52 p.p.

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