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Historical Perspectives on Racial Differences in Schooling in the United States

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  • William J. Collins
  • Robert A. Margo

Abstract

African-Americans entered the post-Civil War era with extremely low levels of exposure to schooling. Relying primarily on micro-level census data, we describe racial differences in literacy rates, school attendance, years of educational attainment, age-in-grade distributions, spending per pupil, and returns to literacy since emancipation, with emphasis on the pre-1960 period. The overwhelming theme is one of educational convergence, despite overt discrimination for much of the period studied, and subject to several qualifications. We interpret this theme in light of a simple model of educational attainment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9770.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9770

Note: ED DAE LS
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  1. Robert A. Margo, 1990. "Segregated Schools and the Mobility Hypothesis: A Model of Local Government Discrimination," NBER Historical Working Papers 0017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Margo, Robert A, 1986. "Educational Achievement in Segregated School Systems: The Effects of "Separate-but-Equal."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 794-801, September.
  3. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "School Quality and Black/White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," Working Papers 652, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Robert A. Margo, 1983. "Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks Before World War I: Commentand Further Evidence," NBER Working Papers 1200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-64, June.
  6. Donohue, John J, III & Heckman, James, 1991. "Continuous versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1603-43, December.
  7. Goldin, Claudia, 1998. "America's Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century," Scholarly Articles 2664307, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "The Pursuit of Opportunity: Explaining Selective Black Migration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 391-417, May.
  9. Collins, William J. & Margo, Robert A., 2001. "Race and Home Ownership: A Century-Long View," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 68-92, January.
  10. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-98, September.
  11. Claudia Goldin, 1990. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold90-1, October.
  12. Robert A. Margo, 2002. "The North-South Wage Gap, Before and After the Civil War," NBER Working Papers 8778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Higgs, Robert, 1982. "Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks before World War I," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 725-37, September.
  14. Margo, Robert A, 1986. "Race and Human Capital: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1221-24, December.
  15. Pritchett, Jonathan B., 1989. "The Burden of Negro Schooling: Tax Incidence and Racial Redistribution in Postbellum North Carolina," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 966-973, December.
  16. Smith, James P, 1986. "Race and Human Capital: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1225-29, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Costa, Dora L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2006. "Forging a New Identity: The Costs and Benefits of Diversity in Civil War Combat Units for Black Slaves and Freemen," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(04), pages 936-962, December.
  2. Leah Platt Boustan & William J. Collins, 2013. "The Origins and Persistence of Black-White Differences in Women's Labor Force Participation," NBER Working Papers 19040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2010. "Slavery, Education, and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 8073, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Derek Neal, 2005. "Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?," NBER Working Papers 11090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2011. "The Evolution of the Racial Gap in Education and the Legacy of Slavery," IZA Discussion Papers 6192, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.
  7. Ilyana Kuziemko, 2011. "Human Capital Spillovers in Families: Do Parents Learn from or Lean on their Children?," NBER Working Papers 17235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mason, Patrick, 2007. "Intergenerational mobility and interraical inequality:the return to family values," MPRA Paper 11327, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2012. "The racial gap in education and the legacy of slavery," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 581-595.
  10. Suresh Naidu, 2012. "Suffrage, Schooling, and Sorting in the Post-Bellum U.S. South," NBER Working Papers 18129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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