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The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males

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  • Stephen V. Cameron
  • James J. Heckman

Abstract

This paper estimates a dynamic model of schooling attainment to investigate the sources of racial and ethnic disparity in college attendance. Parental income in the child's adolescent years is a strong predictor of this disparity. This is widely interpreted to mean that credit constraints facing families during the college-going years are important. Using NLSY data, we find that it is the long-run factors associated with parental background and family environment, and not credit constraints facing prospective students in the college-going years, that account for most of the racial-ethnic college-going differential. Policies aimed at improving these long-term family and environmental factors are more likely to be successful in eliminating college attendance differentials than short-term tuition reduction and family income supplement policies aimed at families with college age children.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 455-499, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:109:y:2001:i:3:p:455-499
    DOI: 10.1086/321014
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kane, Thomas J, 1994. "College Entry by Blacks since 1970: The Role of College Costs, Family Background, and the Returns to Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 878-911, October.
    2. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
    3. Heckman, James J & Walker, James R, 1990. "The Relationship between Wages and Income and the Timing and Spacing of Births: Evidence from Swedish Longitudinal Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1411-1441, November.
    4. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1989. "The Specification and Estimation of Dynamic Stochastic Discrete Choice Models: A Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(4), pages 562-598.
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