As noted a few weeks ago, The Economist has gone off the reservation on climate change, and in the current issue it has done so again on the issue of affirmation action and race-conscious policy. The issue is featured on the cover, which means it is the subject of the first “leader” (house editorial), “Time to Scrap Affirmative Action,” as well as the focus of a long feature news story. In particular The Economist takes note of the important original research on the “mismatch hypothesis” by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor.
Time to Scrap Affirmative Action: In 1997 Thomas Espenshade of Princeton analysed the scores on SATs, a widely used test for college admissions, that different races needed in order to get into private universities. He found that Asian-Americans’ SAT scores had to exceed those of whites by 140 points out of 1,600, those of Hispanics by 270 points and those of blacks by 450 points. A study by Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute, a think-tank, found that black students with average grades and test scores were almost three times more likely than Asians with similarly average qualifications to get into medical school.
Not mentioned here is that the proportion of Asians declined simultaneously and converged at almost the identical percentage at most of our leading universities, almost as if admissions directors colluded on the outcome. Seems like an ideal subject for an investigation by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights or the Justice Department. Don’t hold your breath. More likely the Justice Department will investigate The Economist to find out why it has suddenly become so politically incorrect.