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Paying for Progress: Conditional Grants and the Desegregation of Southern Schools

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Listed:
  • Elizabeth Cascio
  • Nora Gordon
  • Ethan Lewis
  • Sarah Reber

Abstract

This paper examines how a large conditional grants program influenced school desegregation in the American South. Exploiting newly collected archival data and quasi-experimental variation in potential per-pupil federal grants, we show that school districts with more at risk in 1966 were more likely to desegregate just enough to receive their funds. Although the program did not raise the exposure of blacks to whites like later court orders, districts with larger grants at risk in 1966 were less likely to be under court order through 1970, suggesting that tying federal funds to nondiscrimination reduced the burden of desegregation on federal courts.

Suggested Citation

  • 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 445-482.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:125:y:2010:i:1:p:445-482.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/qjec.2010.125.1.445
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1975. "The Effect of School Desegregation on Housing Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(4), pages 446-451, November.
    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. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 151-200.
    4. Robert A. Margo, 1990. "Race and Schooling in the South, 1880-1950: An Economic History," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number marg90-1, January.
    5. Heckman, James J & Payner, Brook S, 1989. "Determining the Impact of Federal Antidiscrimination Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks: A Study of South Carolina," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 138-177, March.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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