The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions Twentieth Anniversary Edition

The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions Twentieth Anniversary Edition


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First published in 1998, William Bowen and Derek Bok’s The Shape of the River became an immediate landmark in the debate over affirmative action in America. It grounded a contentious subject in concrete data at a time when arguments surrounding it were characterized more by emotion than evidence—and it made a forceful case that race-conscious admissions were successfully helping to promote equal opportunity. Today, the issue of affirmative action remains unsettled. Much has changed, but The Shape of the River continues to present the most compelling data available about the effects of affirmative action. Now with a new foreword by Nicholas Lemann and an afterword by Derek Bok, The Shape of the River is an essential text for anyone seeking to understand race-conscious admissions in higher education.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691182483
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 01/08/2019
Series: The William G. Bowen Series , #118
Edition description: Anniversar
Pages: 528
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

William G. Bowen (1933–2016) was president emeritus of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University and founding chairman of JSTOR and ITHAKA. Derek Bok is the 300th Anniversary University Research Professor, professor of law, and president emeritus of Harvard University.

Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

List of Tables xv

Foreword xxi

Preface xxix

Chapter 1 Historical Context 1

Chapter 2 The Admissions Process and "Race-Neutrality" 15

Chapter 3 Academic Outcomes 53

Chapter 4 Advanced Study: Graduate and Professional Degrees 91

Chapter 5 Employment, Earnings, and Job Satisfaction 118

Chapter 6 Civic Participation and Satisfaction with Life 155

Chapter 7 Looking Back: Views of College 193

Chapter 8 Diversity: Perceptions and Realities 218

Chapter 9 Informing the Debate 256

Chapter 10 Summing Up 275

Afterward 291

Appendix A The College and Beyond Database 295

Appendix B Notes on Methodology 340

Appendix C Earnings in Relation to Advanced Degrees, Sector of Employment, and Occupation 366

Appendix D Additional Tables 379

References 455

Index 465

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“No study of this magnitude has been attempted before.... The evidence collected flatly refutes many of the misimpressions of affirmative-action opponents.”New York Times

“Any respectable discussion of the consequences of affirmative action in universities must now either acknowledge [this book’s] findings or challenge them, and any challenge must match the standards of breadth and statistical professionalism that [the authors] have achieved.”—Ronald Dworkin, New York Review of Books

“On the strength of [the authors’] credentials the reader can expect much, and much is delivered.... [This book’s] foundation is so solidly anchored to a bedrock of data that it will be relied upon as a navigational beacon for years to come.”—Robert E. Thatch, Science

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