We investigate how “top-N percent” policies in college admission affect diversity at the high-school level. It is well understood that these policies produce incentives for students to relocate to schools with weaker competition. We show theoretically that such school arbitrage can neutralize the policy at the college level but may partially desegregate high schools. These predictions are supported by empirical evidence on the effects of the Texas Top Ten Percent Law, indicating that a policy intended to support diversity at the college level actually helped achieve it in the high schools. Thus top-N percent policies may provide a new instrument for the long-sought goal of achieving high school integration.
(This is an extended revision of a working paper entitled “College Admission and High School Integration”)