For the last five years, efforts to assess and “shame” selective colleges based on their enrollment of low-income students have worked — perhaps too well, two top economists of higher education assert in a new paper.

The study, a version of which was published late last week in Education Next, was conducted by Caroline Hoxby and Sarah Turner, economists at Stanford University and the University of Virginia, respectively. (Another version of the paper was released today by the National Bureau of Economic Research.) The studies assert that recent efforts by researchers and think tanks to rank colleges and universities on enrollment of low-income students, while well intentioned, have both unfairly judged some colleges’ performance and led institutions to alter who they enroll in ways that disadvantage some low-income students, even as they help others.

“By engaging in what I would call public shaming around what I would call bad measures, the well-intentioned research leads to defensive and reactionary responses by institutions,” Hoxby said in an interview….

Inside Higher Ed