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The Evolution of the Racial Gap in Education and the Legacy of Slavery

  • Bertocchi, Graziella
  • Dimico, Arcangelo

We study the evolution of racial educational inequality across US states from 1940 to 2000. We show that throughout this period, despite evidence of convergence, the racial gap in attainment between blacks and whites has been persistently determined by the initial gap. We obtain these results with 2SLS estimates where slavery is used as an instrument for the initial gap. The excludability of slavery is preliminarily established by instrumenting it with the share of disembarked slaves from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Using the same approach we also find that income growth is negatively affected by the initial racial gap in education and that slavery affects growth indirectly through this channel.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8711.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8711
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  1. Charles I. Jones, 2002. "Sources of U.S. Economic Growth in a World of Ideas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 220-239, March.
  2. Matthew J. Higgins & Daniel Levy & Andrew T. Young, 2006. "Growth and Convergence across the United States: Evidence from County-Level Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 671-681, November.
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  5. Mark W. Frank, 2009. "Inequality And Growth In The United States: Evidence From A New State-Level Panel Of Income Inequality Measures," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 55-68, 01.
  6. repec:bla:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:1:p:143-179 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 2003. "Historical Perspectives on Racial Differences in Schooling in the United States," NBER Working Papers 9770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Nunn, Nathan & Wantchekon, Leonard, 2011. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," Scholarly Articles 11986331, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "School Quality and Black/White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," Working Papers 652, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. Welch, Finis, 1973. "Black-White Differences in Returns to Schooling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(5), pages 893-907, December.
  11. Partridge, Mark D, 1997. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth? Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1019-32, December.
  12. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2008. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions and the Great Divergence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6751, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Nunn, Nathan, 2008. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," Scholarly Articles 3710252, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-51, April.
  15. Panizza, Ugo, 2002. " Income Inequality and Economic Growth: Evidence from American Data," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 25-41, March.
  16. Jonathan Temple, 2005. "Dual Economy Models: A Primer For Growth Economists," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 73(4), pages 435-478, 07.
  17. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2010. "Slavery, Education, and Inequality," Working Paper Series 26_10, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  18. 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.
  19. Orazem, Peter F, 1987. "Black-White Differences in Schooling Investment and Human Capital Production in Segregated Schools," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 714-23, September.
  20. Fishback, Price V & Baskin, John S, 1991. "Narrowing the Black-White Gap in Child Literacy in 1910: The Roles of School Inputs and Family Inputs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 725-28, November.
  21. 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, October.
  22. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-98, September.
  23. Heckman, James J, 1990. "The Central Role of the South in Accounting for the Economic Progress of Black Americans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 242-46, May.
  24. Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "Slavery and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 9227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1991. "Convergence across States and Regions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 107-182.
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