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Does School Desegregation Promote Diverse Interactions? An Equilibrium Model of Segregation within Schools


  • Angelo Mele


This paper studies racial segregation in schools using data on student friendships from Add Health. I estimate an equilibrium model of friendship formation, with preferences allowing both homophily and heterophily in direct and indirect ties. I find that homophily goes beyond direct links: students also prefer racially homogeneous indirect friends, while there is heterophily in income. I simulate policies reallocating students across schools. Race-based policies have nonlinear effects on within-school segregation and other network features such as clustering and centrality. Policies increasing diversity through reallocations based on income have less impact on racial segregation.

Suggested Citation

  • Angelo Mele, 2020. "Does School Desegregation Promote Diverse Interactions? An Equilibrium Model of Segregation within Schools," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 228-257, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:12:y:2020:i:2:p:228-57
    DOI: 10.1257/pol.20170604

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    Cited by:

    1. Siddhartha Chib & Minchul Shin & Fei Tan, 2023. "DSGE-SVt: An Econometric Toolkit for High-Dimensional DSGE Models with SV and t Errors," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 61(1), pages 69-111, January.
    2. Vincent Boucher & Carlo L. Del Bello & Fabrizio Panebianco & Thierry Verdier & Yves Zenou, 2023. "Education Transmission and Network Formation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 129-173.
    3. Siddhartha Chib & Minchul Shin & Fei Tan, 2020. "High-Dimensional DSGE Models: Pointers on Prior, Estimation, Comparison, and Prediction‚ąó," Working Papers 20-35, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    4. Tenev, Nicholas H, 2020. "Social Connections and Racial Wage Inequality," SocArXiv vm82w, Center for Open Science.
    5. Lenz, Lisa & Mittlaender, Sergio, 2022. "The effect of intergroup contact on discrimination," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 89(C).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination


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