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Evaluating the Role of Brown v. Board of Education in School Equalization, Desegregation, and the Income of African Americans

  • Orley Ashenfelter
  • William J. Collins
  • Albert Yoon

The public profile of the Brown v. Board of Education decision tends to overshadow the well-established fact that racial disparities in school resources in the South began narrowing 20 years before the Brown decision and that school desegregation did not begin on a large scale in the Deep South until ten years after the Brown decision. We instead view Brown as a highly visible marker of public policy's mid-century reversal on matters of race. When we examine the labor market outcomes of male workers in 1990, we find that southern-born blacks who would have finished their schooling just before effective desegregation occurred in the South fared poorly compared to southern-born blacks who followed behind them in school by just a few years, relative to northern-born blacks in same age cohorts. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal American Law and Economics Review.

Volume (Year): 8 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 213-248

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Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:8:y:2006:i:2:p:213-248
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  1. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2002. "New Evidence about Brown v. Board of Education: The Complex Effects of School Racial Composition on Achievement," NBER Working Papers 8741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Joshua Angrist, 1989. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," Working Papers 631, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Michael Boozer & Alan Krueger & Shari Wolkon, 1992. "Race and School Quality Since Brown vs. Board of Education," Working Papers 681, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 151-200, February.
  5. Margo, Robert A, 1986. "Educational Achievement in Segregated School Systems: The Effects of "Separate-but-Equal."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 794-801, September.
  6. William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 2004. "The Labor Market Effects of the 1960s Riots," NBER Working Papers 10243, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Steven G. Rivkin, 2000. "School Desegregation, Academic Attainment, and Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 333-346.
  8. John J. Donohue III & James Heckman, 1991. "Continuous Versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," NBER Working Papers 3894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Grogger, Jeff, 1996. "Does School Quality Explain the Recent Black/White Wage Trend?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 231-53, April.
  10. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-64, June.
  11. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "Labor Market Effects of School Quality: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "The Pursuit of Opportunity: Explaining Selective Black Migration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 391-417, May.
  13. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-88, August.
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