Jeremy Fiel


This study posits that in segregated and unequal contexts, equalizing school-based opportunities can create incentives for competitive, opportunity-seeking behaviors that affect school segregation. I examine the unintended effects of automatic admissions policies (“percent plans”), which redistributed college-going opportunities more equally across high schools to diversify college enrollments. Evidence from quasi-experimental analyses suggest modest declines in racial  segregation in highly segregated school districts. There is also evidence linking these declines to reduced aversion of white students to schools with large black enrollments. This supports the idea that racial boundaries are responsive to the distribution of opportunities. It also shows that efforts to reduce racial inequality in segregated contexts must grapple with strategic responses that could reduce segregation but also possibly blunt intended gains in racial equality.


Jeremy E. Fiel is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rice University. His research examines segregation, education, and social stratification, with particular interests in contemporary racial/ethnic school segregation, educational inequality, and intergenerational mobility. You can read more about his work at