Berkeley Admissions Data

Seal of the University of California, Berkeley
Seal of UC Berkeley

Description

The table below is a three-way table that presents admissions data at the University of California, Berkeley in 1973 according to the variables department (A, B, C, D, E), gender (male, female), and outcome (admitted, denied).

Berkeley Admission Data
Department Male Female
Admitted Denied Admitted Denied
A 512 313 89 19
B 313 207 17 8
C 120 205 202 391
D 138 279 131 244
E 53 138 94 299
F 22 351 24 317

Discussion

An analysis of just the variables gender and admissions shows a correlation that suggests gender bias: the proportion of women admitted was significantly lower than the proportion of men admitted. However, when the department variable is taken into account, the gender bias disappears. Generally, the women were applying for admission in the harder department, those with low admission rates.

A data set in which a correlation between two variables disapears, or even reverses, when a third variable is taken into account is known as Simpson's paradox.

Sources