I am interested in micro theory (I know that it is harder to get a job in this field), but typically I feel departments outside the top 10 will not place well if you are a theorist. Thus the department, which wants to place as well as possible, will be hesitant to admit a student who expresses a particular interest in theory if the department is lower ranked (outside the top 20 for instance).

Do you guys think that this kind of reasoning enters the minds of adcoms? If so, is it better to not mention theory interests? What if your letters may mention this?

On the other hand, perhaps these schools are less likely to get theory students, and have theory faculty that may wish that there were more in the program.