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Racial Fractionalization and School Performance


  • Joshua C. Hall
  • Peter T. Leeson


The literature on racial "peer effects" suggests that diversity improves at least some students' school performance. However, a literature in economic development posits that diversity may negatively affect school performance by undermining the efficient provision of education. This article empirically tests this claim, which we call the "public goods channel," by examining the relationship between racial diversity and student performance in Ohio's school districts. We find that moving from a completely homogenous school district to one in which two racial groups have equal population shares is associated with a 7-17.5 percentage point decline in the passage rate on the state math exam, holding per pupil spending across districts constant. These results suggest that racial diversity is negatively associated with school performance but that the public goods channel is not responsible for this relationship. Copyright © 2010 American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Inc..

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  • Joshua C. Hall & Peter T. Leeson, 2010. "Racial Fractionalization and School Performance," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(2), pages 736-758, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ajecsc:v:69:y:2010:i:2:p:736-758

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    Cited by:

    1. Rhys Andrews & Morgen Johansen, 2012. "Organizational Environments and Performance: A Linear or Nonlinear Relationship?," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 175-189, June.
    2. Hall, Joshua C., 2015. "Local Government Border Congruence and the Fiscal Commons: Evidence from Ohio School Districts," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 45(2).
    3. Angioloni, Simone & Ames, Glenn C.W. & Houston, Jack, 2014. "Food Insecurity and Educational Achievement," 2014 Annual Meeting, February 1-4, 2014, Dallas, Texas 162478, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    4. Richard J. Cebula & Joshua C. Hall & Maria Y. Tackett, 2017. "Non-public competition and public school performance: evidence from West Virginia," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(12), pages 1185-1193, March.

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