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Closing the gap? The effect of private philanthropy on the provision of African-American schooling in the U.S. south

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  • Carruthers, Celeste K.
  • Wanamaker, Marianne H.

Abstract

Long-run labor market inequities are frequently attributed to disparities in primary and secondary school quality, and philanthropists often resort to targeted and tightly conditioned gifts to address these quality disparities. We match data on the Rosenwald Schools Program, an early 20th century initiative aimed at the Southern black–white school quality gap, to newly assembled data on local school districts and measure the impact of Rosenwald gifts on African-American public school resources. Although these gifts increased contemporaneous expenditures on African-American schools, results show that they yielded no lasting change in multiple school quality proxies. Further, because Rosenwald funds were diverted or implicitly matched to favor white schools, we find no evidence that the Fund reduced the black–white gap in superficial school quality. We demonstrate, however, that overall black public education expenditures in this era had a steeper marginal effect on black attendance and literacy measures than white public expenditures had on white outcome measures, which helps to explain why the Rosenwald program led to meaningful human capital gains for black, but not white, individuals despite its failure to impact relative school quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Carruthers, Celeste K. & Wanamaker, Marianne H., 2013. "Closing the gap? The effect of private philanthropy on the provision of African-American schooling in the U.S. south," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 53-67.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:101:y:2013:i:c:p:53-67
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2013.02.003
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/690944 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Stephan E. Maurer, 2018. "Oil Discoveries and Education Spending in the Postbellum South," CEP Discussion Papers dp1526, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Emily Nix & Nancy Qian, 2015. "The Fluidity of Race: “Passing” in the United States, 1880-1940," NBER Working Papers 20828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Celeste K. Carruthers & Marianne H. Wanamaker, 2015. "Municipal Housekeeping: The Impact of Women’s Suffrage on Public Education," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(4), pages 837-872.
    5. Joanna N. Lahey, 2017. "Understanding Why Black Women Are Not Working Longer," NBER Chapters,in: Women Working Longer: Increased Employment at Older Ages, pages 85-109 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Kose, Esra & Kuka, Elira & Shenhav, Na'ama, 2016. "Women's Enfranchisement and Children's Education: The Long-Run Impact of the U.S. Suffrage Movement," IZA Discussion Papers 10148, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Celeste K. Carruthers & Marianne H. Wanamaker, 2017. "Separate and Unequal in the Labor Market: Human Capital and the Jim Crow Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(3), pages 655-696.
    8. Katherine Eriksson, 2015. "Access to Schooling and the Black-White Incarceration Gap in the Early 20th Century US South: Evidence from Rosenwald Schools," NBER Working Papers 21727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; Achievement gap; Public goods; Rosenwald; Philanthropy;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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