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Long-run Impacts of School Desegregation & School Quality on Adult Attainments

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  • Rucker C. Johnson
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    Abstract

    This paper investigates the long-run impacts of court-ordered school desegregation on an array of adult socioeconomic and health outcomes. The study analyzes the life trajectories of children born between 1945 and 1970, and followed through 2011, using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). The PSID data are linked with multiple data sources that describe the neighborhood attributes, school quality resources, and coincident policies that prevailed at the time these children were growing up. I exploit quasirandom variation in the timing of initial court orders, which generated differences in the timing and scope of the implementation of desegregation plans during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Event study analyses as well as 2SLS and sibling-difference estimates indicate that school desegregation and the accompanied increases in school quality resulted in significant improvements in adult attainments for blacks. I find that, for blacks, school desegregation significantly increased both educational and occupational attainments, college quality and adult earnings, reduced the probability of incarceration, and improved adult health status; desegregation had no effects on whites across each of these outcomes. The results suggest that the mechanisms through which school desegregation led to beneficial adult attainment outcomes for blacks include improvement in access to school resources reflected in reductions in class size and increases in per-pupil spending.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16664.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16664

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    Cited by:
    1. David Frisvold & Ezra Golberstein, 2013. "The Effect of School Quality on Black-White Health Differences: Evidence From Segregated Southern Schools," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(6), pages 1989-2012, December.
    2. Stephen B. Billings & David J. Deming & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2012. "School Segregation, Educational Attainment and Crime: Evidence from the end of busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg," NBER Working Papers 18487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. C. Kirabo Jackson & Rucker Johnson & Claudia Persico, 2014. "The Effect of School Finance Reforms on the Distribution of Spending, Academic Achievement, and Adult Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 20118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Carbone, Jared C. & Kverndokk, Snorre, 2014. "Individual investments in education and health," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2014:1, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.

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