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Social Engagement and Student Body Diversity at Elite American Colleges


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  • Sharissa Barrow
  • Douglas Coate



Putnam has concluded that trust in others and civic and social engagement in the community are inversely related to the racial and ethnic diversity of the population. In this paper, we examine how measures of social engagement among college students vary with student body racial and ethnic heterogeneity at elite U.S. colleges. We find that socialization measures from the Fiske guide to colleges and from the Princeton Review guide to best colleges are inversely related to student body diversity. We also find that student retention from the freshman to the sophomore year is positively related to student body diversity. This may be because less intense social lives leaves more time for study during the freshman year, when students are learning to manage their time.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark in its series Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark with number 2009-007.

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Length: 11 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:run:wpaper:2009-007

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Keywords: social capital; social engagement; student body diversity; American colleges;

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