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Cracks in the Melting Pot: Immigration, School Choice, and Segregation

  • Elizabeth U. Cascio
  • Ethan G. Lewis

We examine whether low-skilled immigration to the United States has contributed to immigrants' residential isolation by reducing native demand for public schools. We address endogeneity in school demographics using established Mexican settlement patterns in California and use a comparison group to account for immigration's broader effects. We estimate that between 1970 and 2000, the average California school district lost more than 14 non-Hispanic households with children to other districts in its metropolitan area for every 10 additional households enrolling low-English Hispanics in its public schools. By disproportionately isolating children, the native reaction to immigration may have longer-run consequences than previously thought. (JEL H75, I21, J15, J24, J61, R23)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 91-117

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:4:y:2012:i:3:p:91-117
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.4.3.91
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  1. Elizabeth Cascio & Nora Gordon & Ethan Lewis & Sarah Reber, 2010. "Paying for Progress: Conditional Grants and the Desegregation of Southern Schools," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 445-482, February.
  2. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
  3. Cutler, David M. & Glaeser, Edward L. & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2008. "When are ghettos bad? Lessons from immigrant segregation in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 759-774, May.
  4. Fairlie, Robert, 2014. "Does Immigration Induce "Native Flight" from Public Schools into Private Schools?," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt85s5v99k, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  5. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
  6. Leah Platt Boustan, 2010. "School Desegregation and Urban Change: Evidence from City Boundaries," NBER Working Papers 16434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Fernando Ferreira, 2008. "You Can Take it With You: Proposition 13 Tax Benefits, Residential Mobility, and Willingness to Pay for Housing Amenities," Working Papers 08-15, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2005. "Is the Melting Pot Still Hot? Explaining the Resurgence of Immigrant Segregation," NBER Working Papers 11295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Eric J. Brunner & Jon Sonstelie, 2006. "California's School Finance Reform: An Experiment in Fiscal Federalism," Working papers 2006-09, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  10. Leah Platt Boustan, 2007. "Was Postwar Suburbanization "White Flight"? Evidence from the Black Migration," NBER Working Papers 13543, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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