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The Impact of Rosenwald Schools on Black Achievement

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  • Daniel Aaronson
  • Bhashkar Mazumder

Abstract

The black-white gap in schooling among southern-born men narrowed sharply between the world wars. From 1914 to 1931, nearly 5,000 schools were constructed as part of the Rosenwald Rural Schools Initiative. Using census data and World War II records, we find that the Rosenwald program accounts for a sizable portion of the educational gains of rural southern blacks. We find significant effects on school attendance, literacy, years of schooling, cognitive test scores, and northern migration. The gains are highest in the most disadvantaged counties, suggesting that schooling treatments have the largest impact among those with limited access to education.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Aaronson & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2011. "The Impact of Rosenwald Schools on Black Achievement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(5), pages 821-888.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/662962
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. Daniel Aaronson & Fabian Lange & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2014. "Fertility Transitions along the Extensive and Intensive Margins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3701-3724, November.
    4. David Frisvold & Ezra Golberstein, 2013. "The Effect of School Quality on Black-White Health Differences: Evidence From Segregated Southern Schools," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(6), pages 1989-2012, December.
    5. Philip DeCicca & Harry Krashinsky, 2016. "The Effect of Education on Overall Fertility," NBER Working Papers 23003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Philipp Ager, 2013. "The Persistence of de Facto Power: Elites and Economic Development in the US South, 1840-1960," Working Papers 0038, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    7. Paco Martorel & Kevin Stange & Isaac McFarlin Jr., 2016. "Investing in Schools: Capital Spending, Facility Conditions, and Student Achievement (Revised and Edited)," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 16-256, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    8. Mazumder, Bhashkar, 2014. "Black–White Differences in Intergenerational Economic Mobility in the U.S," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 1-18.
    9. 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.
    10. Margo, Robert A., 2016. "Obama, Katrina, and the Persistence of Racial Inequality," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(02), pages 301-341, June.
    11. Melvin Stephens Jr. & Dou-Yan Yang, 2014. "Compulsory Education and the Benefits of Schooling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1777-1792, June.
    12. Martorell, Paco & Stange, Kevin & McFarlin, Isaac, 2016. "Investing in schools: capital spending, facility conditions, and student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 13-29.
    13. 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).
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0615-x is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Alessandro Belmonte & Vincenzo Bove & Giovanna D’Inverno & Marco Modica, 2017. "School Infrastructure Spending and Educational Outcomes in Northern Italy," SPRU Working Paper Series 2017-20, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
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