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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Kris James Mitchener & Ian W. McLean, 2003. "The Productivity of U.S. States Since 1880," NBER Working Papers 9445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "Slavery and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 9227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," NBER Working Papers 13367, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2009. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," NBER Working Papers 14783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Partridge, Mark D, 1997. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth? Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1019-32, December.
  9. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2010. "Slavery, Education, and Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 5329, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Panizza, Ugo, 2002. " Income Inequality and Economic Growth: Evidence from American Data," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 25-41, March.
  11. 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.
  12. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," NBER Working Papers 3713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jones, C.I., 2000. "Sources of U.S. Economic Growth in a World of Ideas," Papers 99-29, United Nations World Employment Programme-.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Welch, Finis, 1973. "Black-White Differences in Returns to Schooling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(5), pages 893-907, December.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-98, September.
  22. repec:bla:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:1:p:143-179 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Rappaport, Jordan & Sachs, Jeffrey D, 2003. " The United States as a Coastal Nation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 5-46, March.
  24. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-51, April.
  25. Jonathan Temple, 2005. "Dual economy models: a primer for growth economists," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 05/574, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
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