Racial Inequality in the 21st Century: The Declining Significance of Discrimination
AbstractThere are large and important differences between blacks in whites in nearly every facet of life--earnings, unemployment, incarceration, health, and so on. This chapter contains three themes. First, relative to the 20th century, the significance of discrimination as an explanation for racial inequality across economic and social indicators has declined. Racial differences in social and economic outcomes are greatly reduced when one accounts for educational achievement; therefore, the new challenge is to understand the obstacles undermining the development of skill in black and Hispanic children in primary and secondary school. Second, analyzing ten large datasets that include children ranging in age from eight months old seventeen years old, we demonstrate that the racial achievement gap is remarkably robust across time, samples, and particular assessments used. The gap does not exist in the first year of life, but black students fall behind quickly thereafter and observables cannot explain differences between racial groups after kindergarten. Third, we provide a brief history of efforts to close the achievement gap. There are several programs--various early childhood interventions, more flexibility and stricter accountability for schools, data-driven instruction, smaller class sizes, certain student incentives, and bonuses for effective teachers to teach in high-need schools, which have a positive return on investment, but they cannot close the achievement gap in isolation. More promising are results from a handful of high-performing charter schools, which combine many of the investments above in a comprehensive framework and provide an "existence proof"--demonstrating that a few simple investments can dramatically increase the achievement of even the poorest minority students. The challenge for the future is to take these examples to scale.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
This chapter was published in:
This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Labor Economics with number 5-10.
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description
Racial achievement gap; Charter schools; Racial inequality;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Kertesi, Gábor & Kézdi, Gábor, 2012.
"A roma és nem roma tanulók teszteredményei közti különbségekről és e különbségek okairól
[The Roma/non-Roma test-score gap in Hungarian education]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 798-853.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.