Professor Peter Arcidiacono Recognized for Contribution to U.S. Education Policy Research

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Professor Peter Arcidiacono Recognized for Contribution to U.S. Education Policy Research
Professor Peter Arcidiacono

Duke Economics professor Peter Arcidiacono has been named as one of the top education scholars in the United States by American Enterprise Institute director of education policy studies and Education Week blogger Frederick M. Hess. The ranking was released Wednesday, January 8.

Coming in at #152 on the list, Arcidiacono specializes in research involving applied microeconomics, applied economics, and labor economics, with a focus on education and discrimination. Most recently, his work has been centered around higher education admissions in regards to affirmative action, and whether affirmative action may hurt certain minority groups. Arcidiacono was an expert witness in the recent Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. Harvard trial, which was based on his study entitled “Legacy and Athlete Preferences at Harvard.” Arcidiacono looked at applicant-level data provided by Harvard in order to determine if Asian-American students were unfairly discriminated against through Harvard’s race-conscious admission policy. Statistical analysis showed that these did indeed face a penalty when applying for admission.   

While the judge recently ruled in favor of Harvard, Arcidiacono continues to investigate the prejudices that may come along with affirmative action. A working paper released in November 2019 entitled “Recruit to Reject? Harvard and African American Applicants” takes aim at Harvard’s alleged practice of encouraging applications from minority students (particularly African Americans) with little chance of acceptance. Arcidiacono hopes to shed more light on the admission practices at elite institutions.  

The ranking takes into account nine factors, including Google Scholar score, social media mentions, and press mentions. The ranking strives to reflect not only the academic body of work a scholar produces, but also the effect their research has had on the public conversation. Hess hopes to encourage academics to take chances in their work and hopes the ranking will, “recognize and value those scholars who engage in public discourse.” 

Arcidiacono was one of three Duke faculty to be included in the ranking. A full list can be found here