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Racial Segregation and Public School Expenditure

  • La Ferrara, Eliana
  • Mele, Angelo

This paper explores the effect of racial segregation on public school expenditure in US metropolitan areas and school districts. Our starting point is the literature that relates public good provision to the degree of racial fragmentation in the community. We argue that looking at fragmentation alone may be misleading and that the geographic distribution of different racial groups needs to be taken into account. Greater segregation is associated with more homogeneity in some subareas and more heterogeneity in others, and this matters if decisions on spending are taken at aggregation levels lower than the MSA. For given fragmentation, the extent of segregation conveys information on households’ possibility to sort into relatively more or less homogeneous jurisdictions. We account for the potential endogeneity of racial segregation and find that the latter has a positive impact on average public school expenditure both at the MSA and at the district level. At the same time, increased segregation leads to more inequality in spending across districts of the same MSA, thus worsening the relative position of poorer districts.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5750.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5750
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  1. Benabou, Roland, 1996. "Equity and Efficiency in Human Capital Investment: The Local Connection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 237-64, April.
  2. Miguel Urquiola, 2005. "Does School Choice Lead to Sorting? Evidence from Tiebout Variation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1310-1326, September.
  3. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Does Competition Among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," NBER Working Papers 4979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Robert A. Margo, 1988. "Schooling and the Great Migration," NBER Working Papers 2697, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Epple, Dennis & Filimon, Radu & Romer, Thomas, 1984. "Equilibrium among local jurisdictions: toward an integrated treatment of voting and residential choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 281-308, August.
  6. Rajiv Sethi & Rohini Somanathan, 2001. "Inequality and Segregation," Microeconomics 0108005, EconWPA.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & Caroline Hoxby, 2004. "Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 348-396, April.
  8. repec:hrv:faseco:4553034 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Jonathan Guryan, 2001. "Desegregation and Black Dropout Rates," NBER Working Papers 8345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. de Bartolome, Charles A M, 1990. "Equilibrium and Inefficiency in a Community Model with Peer Group Effects," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 110-33, February.
  11. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1995. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," NBER Working Papers 5163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1997. "The Determinants of Public Education Expenditures: Evidence from the States, 1950-1990," NBER Working Papers 5995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Collins, Wiiliam J., 1997. "When the Tide Turned: Immigration and the Delay of the Great Black Migration," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(03), pages 607-632, September.
  15. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, . "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Working Papers 151, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  16. Card, David & Payne, A. Abigail, 2002. "School finance reform, the distribution of school spending, and the distribution of student test scores," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 49-82, January.
  17. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. James M. Poterba, 1997. "Demographic structure and the political economy of public education," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 48-66.
  19. repec:cup:jechis:v:57:y:1997:i:03:p:607-632_01 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & Rider, Mark & Walker, Mary Beth, 1997. "Race and the Structure of School Districts in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 281-300, March.
  21. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "The Pursuit of Opportunity: Explaining Selective Black Migration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 391-417, May.
  22. Brasington, David M., 1999. "Joint provision of public goods: the consolidation of school districts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 373-393, September.
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