A lawsuit reveals how peculiar Harvard’s definition of merit is
The university’s reputation for fairness and impartiality emerges bruised
"Peter Arcidiacono, an economist at Duke University employed by the plaintiffs, built a statistical model of the effect of race on admissions. He estimates that a male, non-poor Asian-American applicant with the qualifications to have a 25% chance of admission to Harvard would have a 36% chance if he were white. If he were Hispanic, that would be 77%; if black, it would rise to 95%. Damningly for the defendants, an internal report by Harvard’s research arm, obtained during discovery, reached the same conclusions. Harvard officials claim that the report was incomplete and the analysis oversimplified.
Fighting statistics with statistics, Harvard’s lawyers hired David Card, a prominent labour economist at the University of California, Berkeley. His model includes factors like the quality of a candidate’s high school, parents’ occupations and the disputed personal rating. Under these controls, Mr Card claims that Asian-American applicants are not disadvantaged compared with whites. But given that these factors are themselves correlated with race, Mr Card’s argument is statistically rather like saying that once you correct for racial bias, Harvard is not racially biased."Posted on 2018-06-25T17:27:50+0000