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Are Whites Still "Fleeing"? Racial Patterns and Enrollment Shifts in Urban Public Schools, 1987-1996

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  • Charles T. Clotfelter

Abstract

The effect of interracial contact in public schools on the enrollment of whites has been an important concern in assessments of desegregation since the 1970s. It has been feared that 'white flight' -- meaning exit from or avoidance of racially mixed public schools -- could undermine the racial contact that desegregation policy seeks to enhance. This study examines this question using recent data. It also expands coverage from large urban districts to entire metropolitan areas, paying attention to the spatial context within which enrollment decisions are made. To do so, it examines data for 1987 and 1996 on racial composition and enrollment in all schools and school districts in 238 metropolitan areas. The study finds that white losses appear to be spurred both by interracial contact in districts where their children attend school and by the opportunities available in metropolitan areas for reducing that contact. Implications for metropolitan segregation are examined.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7290.

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Date of creation: Aug 1999
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7290

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  1. Clotfelter, Charles T., 1998. "Public School Segregation in Metropolitan Areas," Working Papers 98-12, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  2. Charles T. Clotfelter, 1978. "Alternative Measures of School Desegregation: A Methodological Note," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(3), pages 373-380.
  3. Cutler, David & Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Scholarly Articles 2770033, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Clotfelter, Charles T., 1979. "Urban school desegregation and declines in white enrollment: A reexamination," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 352-370, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Kevin Lang, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1613-1634, December.
  2. William Easterly, 2009. "Empirics of Strategic Interdependence: The Case of the Racial Tipping Point," NBER Working Papers 15069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kramarz, Francis & Machin, Stephen & Ouazad, Amine, 2008. "What Makes a Test Score? The Respective Contributions of Pupils, Schools, and Peers in Achievement in English Primary Education," IZA Discussion Papers 3866, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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