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School Desegregation and Educational Attainment for Blacks

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  • Sarah J. Reber
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    Abstract

    The desegregation of Southern schools following the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown decision was perhaps the most important innovation in U.S. education policy in the 20th century. This paper assesses the effects of desegregation on its intended beneficiaries, black students. In Louisiana, substantial reductions in segregation between 1965 and 1970 were accompanied by large increases in per-pupil funding. This additional funding was used to "level up" school spending in integrated schools to the level previously experienced only in the white schools. The effects of desegregation on the educational experiences of black students differed substantially depending on the black share of enrollment in the district. For historical reasons, blacks in districts with higher black enrollment shares experienced larger increases in funding, compared to their counterparts in lower black enrollment share districts. On the other hand, blacks in high black enrollment share districts saw smaller increases in exposure to whites (who were higher-income). Blacks in high black enrollment share districts experienced larger improvements in educational attainment, suggesting that the increase in funding associated with desegregation was more important than the increased exposure to whites. A simple cost-benefit calculation suggests that the additional school spending was more than offset by higher earnings due to increased educational attainment. Using a different source of variation and methodology, the results of this paper are consistent with earlier work suggesting that desegregation improved educational attainment for blacks and sheds new light on the potential mechanism behind this improvement in Louisiana: increased funding for blacks' schools.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13193.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13193.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2007
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    Publication status: published as School Desegregation and Educational Attainment for Blacks Sarah J. Reber Journal of Human Resources, 2010, vol. 45, issue 4, pages 893-914
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13193

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    References

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    1. Jonathan Guryan, 2001. "Desegregation and Black Dropout Rates," NBER Working Papers 8345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    3. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," Working Papers 745, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    4. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1996. "Labor Market Effects of School Quality: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 736, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    5. Michael Boozer & Alan Krueger & Shari Wolkon, 1992. "Race and School Quality Since Brown vs. Board of Education," Working Papers 681, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    7. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
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    9. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," NBER Working Papers 3713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Orley Ashenfelter & William J. Collins & Albert Yoon, 2005. "Evaluating the Role of Brown vs. Board of Education in School Equalization, Desegregation, and the Income of African Americans," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0515, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    11. David Card, 2000. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," NBER Working Papers 7769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother'S Education And The Intergenerational Transmission Of Human Capital: Evidence From College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532, November.
    13. Steven G. Rivkin, 2000. "School Desegregation, Academic Attainment, and Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 333-346.
    14. Philip Oreopoulos & Marianne E. Page & Ann Huff Stevens, 2003. "Does Human Capital Transfer from Parent to Child? The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," NBER Working Papers 10164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Lance Lochner, 2010. "Education Policy and Crime," NBER Working Papers 15894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Simon Burgess & Deborah Wilson & Adam Briggs & Anete Piebalga, 2008. "Segregation and the Attainment of Minority Ethnic Pupils in England," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/204, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    3. Rucker C. Johnson, 2011. "Long-run Impacts of School Desegregation & School Quality on Adult Attainments," NBER Working Papers 16664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Nathaniel Baum-Snow & Byron F. Lutz, 2011. "School Desegregation, School Choice, and Changes in Residential Location Patterns by Race," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3019-46, December.
    5. David A. Weiner & Byron F. Lutz & Jens Ludwig, 2009. "The Effects of School Desegregation on Crime," NBER Working Papers 15380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Elizabeth U. Cascio, 2009. "Do Investments in Universal Early Education Pay Off? Long-term Effects of Introducing Kindergartens into Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 14951, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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