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Van C. Tran-"Asian Americans and Affirmative Action Policy"

Friday, September 20, 2019 at 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Uris Hall, 302
Central Campus

While the battle over affirmative action has been ensuing for decades, Asian Americans have recently been thrust into the spotlight as a key group in the national debate. Despite their centrality, we know little about Asian Americans’ views towards the policy, and even less about
the social and psychological drivers of their opinions. Moreover, no research has examined how the framing of Asians as “potential beneficiaries” of affirmative action may sway support for the policy. This article fills these empirical gaps by drawing on an innovative survey framing experiment from the 2016 National Asian American Survey—a nationally representative survey that sampled ten Asian ethnic groups. We approach this research in three parts. Focusing on
affirmative action in university admissions, we examine racial differences in views towards affirmative action policy and document how policy support varies depending on the affirmative action frame. Second, we identify the conditions under which Asian Americans are likely to support the policy, focusing on self-interest, group interest, and commitment to equality. Third, we disaggregate the data and unveil the ethnic heterogeneity in opinion among Asians—showing
that ethnic differences in opinion among Asians are comparable to and even exceed differences between Asians and other non-Asian U.S. racial groups.

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Van Tran

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