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Sorting and Statistical Discrimination in Schools: An Analysis Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health

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  • Anil Nathan

    ()
    (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

Abstract

The rigorous economic analysis of peer group formation is a burgeoning subject. Much has been written about how peers in uence an individual's behavior, and these effects are quite prevalent. However, less has been written on how exactly these peer groups begin and the resulting consequences of their formation. A reason for the dearth of knowledge on peer group formation is the lack of quality data sets that clearly define one's peers. To resolve this issue, this paper explores data which allows a peer group to be defined openly through self nominations. Using these nominations as well as characteristics of the students and their friends, it is possible to see on what dimensions these individuals are sorting into friendships. The data suggests that there is heavy sorting within race and academic ability. Additionally, tests for statistical discrimination on race and academics show that it is exhibited towards blacks and Hispanics. There is also weak evidence of statistical discrimination against whites. Empirical analysis also shows that the degree of statistical discrimination decreases for blacks and Hispanics over a year; however, there is little change for whites over the same period. This result suggests a process of learning about a noisy signal on academic characteristics. Future work includes models describing the benefit of having various friends and the probability of forming those friendships, which can be used to simulate redistribution policies.

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File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/hcx/Nathan_Discrimination.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0905.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: May 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:0905

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Keywords: National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health; Add Health; friendship formation; statistical discrimination; school redistribution;

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  1. Patrick Bayer & Hanming Fang & Robert McMillan, 2005. "Separate When Equal? Racial Inequality and Residential Segregation," NBER Working Papers 11507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Johanne Boisjoly & Greg J. Duncan & Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy & Jacque Eccles, 2006. "Empathy or Antipathy? The Impact of Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1890-1905, December.
  4. Arcidiacono, Peter & Khan, Shakeeb & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2011. "Representation versus assimilation: How do preferences in college admissions affect social interactions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 1-15.
  5. David Marmaros & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "How Do Friendships Form?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 79-119, 02.
  6. Peter Arcidiacono & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2010. "Does The River Spill Over? Estimating The Economic Returns To Attending A Racially Diverse College," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 537-557, 07.
  7. William W. Gould & Jeffrey Pitblado & Brian Poi, 2010. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation with Stata," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, edition 4, number ml4, March.
  8. Robert Bifulco & Helen F. Ladd, 2007. "School choice, racial segregation, and test-score gaps: Evidence from North Carolina's charter school program*," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(1), pages 31-56.
  9. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
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