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Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri

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Abstract

Conditional on enrollment, African American entrants at 4-year public universities are much less likely to graduate, and graduate in STEM fields, than white entrants. Using administrative micro data from Missouri, we show that the success gaps between African-American and white students in college can be explained by three factors: (1) racial differences in how students sort to universities and majors, (2) racial differences in high-school quality prior to entry, and (3) racial differences in other observed pre-entry skills. We decompose the success gaps between African Americans and whites to identify the relative importance of these three factors. Even holding racial differences in high-school quality and pre-entry skills fixed, we find that a non-negligible fraction of the racial gap in graduation rates can be explained by differences in student sorting across universities and majors (10 to 20 percent). Differences in observed measures of pre-entry skills – primarily students’ high-school class rankings conditional on high school of attendance – are consistently the most important determinants of the success gaps by race. Differences in pre-entry skills explain a larger share of the graduation gap for men than for women, and most of the racial gaps in STEM attainment (conditional on STEM entry) for both genders

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File URL: http://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2012/WP1212_koedel.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 1212.

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Length: 48 pgs.
Date of creation: 25 Sep 2012
Date of revision: 15 Jul 2013
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1212

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Postal: 118 Professional Building, Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-0063
Fax: (573) 882-2697
Web page: http://economics.missouri.edu/
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Related research

Keywords: black-white achievement gap; black-white graduation gap; black-white college gap; racial college gap; racial achievement gap;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner, 2013. "A Major in Science? Initial Beliefs and Final Outcomes for College Major and Dropout," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20134, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  2. Emmons, William R. & Noeth, Bryan J., 2013. "Economic vulnerability and financial fragility," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 361-388.
  3. Arcidiacono, Peter & Aucejo, Esteban & Coate, Patrick & Hotz, V. Joseph, 2012. "Affirmative Action and University Fit: Evidence from Proposition 209," IZA Discussion Papers 7000, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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