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An empirical analysis of 'acting white'

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  • Fryer Jr., Roland G.
  • Torelli, Paul
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    Abstract

    Using a newly available data set, which allows one to construct a novel measure of a student's social status, we demonstrate that there are potentially important racial differences in the relationship between social status and academic achievement. The effect is concentrated among students with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher and more pronounced in schools with more interracial contact. Earlier studies showing a positive relationship between popularity and academic achievement for blacks are sensitive to the inclusion of more continuous achievement measures. We argue that the data are most consistent with a model of 'acting white' in which investments in education are taken as a signal of one's opportunity costs of peer-group loyalty, though imprecise estimates make definitive conclusions difficult.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V76-4XKBYM4-1/2/11882c9005b4740150e03618b2bd53e2
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

    Volume (Year): 94 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 5-6 (June)
    Pages: 380-396

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:5-6:p:380-396

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

    Related research

    Keywords: Social interactions Racial achievement gap;

    References

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    1. Neal, Derek, 1997. "The Effects of Catholic Secondary Schooling on Educational Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 98-123, January.
    2. Jeffrey R. Kling & B. Jeffrey Liebman, 2004. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects on Youth," Working Papers 862, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. William Rodgers & William Spriggs, 1996. "What does the AFQT really measure: Race, wages, schooling and the AFQT score," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 13-46, June.
    4. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
    5. Kling, Jeffrey & Liebman, Jeffrey, 2004. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects on Youth," Working Paper Series rwp04-034, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    6. Federico Echenique & Roland G. Fryer Jr., 2005. "On the Measurement of Segregation," Labor and Demography 0503006, EconWPA.
    7. Cook, Michael D & Evans, William N, 2000. "Families or Schools? Explaining the Convergence in White and Black Academic Performance," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 729-54, October.
    8. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 87-130, January.
    9. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
    10. Fryer, Roland, 2007. "A Model of Social Interactions and Endogenous Poverty Traps," Scholarly Articles 2958480, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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