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Racial Fractionalization and School Performance


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  • Joshua C. Hall
  • Peter T. Leeson


The literature on racial "peer effects" suggests that diversity improves at least some students' school performance. However, a literature in economic development posits that diversity may negatively affect school performance by undermining the efficient provision of education. This article empirically tests this claim, which we call the "public goods channel," by examining the relationship between racial diversity and student performance in Ohio's school districts. We find that moving from a completely homogenous school district to one in which two racial groups have equal population shares is associated with a 7-17.5 percentage point decline in the passage rate on the state math exam, holding per pupil spending across districts constant. These results suggest that racial diversity is negatively associated with school performance but that the public goods channel is not responsible for this relationship. Copyright � 2010 American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Inc..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Volume (Year): 69 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 736-758

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ajecsc:v:69:y:2010:i:2:p:736-758

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Cited by:
  1. Joshua C. Hall, 2014. "Local Government Border Congruence and the Fiscal Commons : Evidence from Ohio School Districts," Working Papers 14-13, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
  2. Rhys Andrews & Morgen Johansen, 2012. "Organizational Environments and Performance: A Linear or Nonlinear Relationship?," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 175-189, June.


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