Originally Posted By: Bostonian
The paper is

Legacy and Athlete Preferences at Harvard
by Peter Arcidiacono, Josh Kinsler, and Tyler Ransom
Duke University University of Georgia University of Oklahoma
NBER & IZA & IZA
September 11, 2019
Abstract
The lawsuit Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard University provided an unprecedented look at how an elite school makes admissions decisions. Using publicly released reports, we examine the preferences Harvard gives for recruited athletes, legacies, those on the deanís interest list, and children of faculty and staff (ALDCs). Among white admits, over 43% are ALDC. Among admits who are African American, Asian American, and Hispanic, the share is less than 16% each. Our model of admissions shows that roughly three quarters of white ALDC admits would have been rejected if they had been treated as white non-ALDCs. Removing preferences for athletes and legacies would significantly alter the racial distribution of admitted students, with the share of white admits falling and all other groups rising or remaining unchanged.

Another paper by the same authors:

Divergent: The Time Path of Legacy and Athlete Admissions at Harvard
Peter Arcidiacono, Josh Kinsler, Tyler Ransom
NBER Working Paper No. 26315
Issued in September 2019
NBER Program(s):The Education Program, The Law and Economics Program
Applications to elite US colleges have more than doubled over the past 20 years, with little change in the number of available seats. We examine how this increased competition has affected the admissions advantage that legacies and athletes (LA) receive. Using data on Harvard applications over 18 years, we show that non-legacy, non-athlete (NLNA) applications grew considerably and that LA applications remained flat. Yet, the share of LA admits remained stable, implying substantial increases in admissions advantages for legacies and athletes. We develop a simple theoretical model of university admissions to frame our empirical analysis. Viewed through the lens of the model, stability in the share of LA admits implies that elite colleges treat the number of LA admits and overall admit quality as complements. Our empirical analysis reveals that, if the admissions advantages for LA applicants had been constant throughout this period, there would have been a large increase in the number of minority admits.