Asian-American Ivy League Applicants Can Trust Markets More Than Courts
National Review
February 22, 2021


Though Princeton was victorious in its 2015 discrimination case, its Class of ’24 is 25 percent Asian-American, up from 14 percent a little over a decade ago — and it has moved ahead of Harvard to sixth in the world rankings. Whether because of competitive or legal pressure, Harvard’s admission rate of Asians has trended upward recently, and at a sharp pace. Some 25 percent of the class of 2023 is Asian-American; Yale’s Asian-American enrollment is up from 10 percent to 17 percent, and it is up from tenth a decade ago. Outside the Ivy League, at schools such as Duke, Rice, Carnegie-Mellon, and Georgia Tech, proportions of Asian-American students exceed 20 percent and have increased by at least five percentage points in the last decade. It is easy to think that other rivals will join right in.

That’s the way markets work to penalize bias and reward virtue: Schools that become excessively devoted to identity politics and underweight merit will find their competition gaining on them. Rankings will shift and applicant enthusiasm and alumni support will wax or wane accordingly. In response, all are likely to do a better job shedding their biases — or those that do not will struggle until they see the error of their ways.