Dueling Economists in Harvard v SFFA

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

The case that Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) brought against Harvard University will likely not be decided until early next year, plenty of time for both sides to bring in outside help. “SFFA paid Duke economics professor Peter S. Arcidiacono to create a model of the College’s admissions process,” Iris M. Lewis and Sanjana L. Narayanan reported in The Harvard Crimson. “He claims his model proves Harvard does discriminate against Asian Americans.”

“Harvard, though, paid University of California, Berkeley economics professor David E. Card to create his own model of the admissions process. He claims his model proves the College does not discriminate.”

The funny thing is, Arcidiacono did what I would have guessed Card would do and vice versa. “In his analysis, Card included the personal rating — a score that measures applicants’ character — and so-called ‘ALDC’ applicants, meaning students who are athletes, legacies, linked to top Harvard donors, or children of faculty members,” Lewis and Narayanan report. “Arcidiacono left out both.”

“Card also ran his analyses year-by-year for the six years’ worth of Harvard admissions data made available as part of the trial; Arcidiacono pooled the data together.”