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Public School Choice and Integration: Evidence from Durham, North Carolina

Using evidence from Durham, North Carolina, we examine the impact of school choice programs on racial and class-based segregation across schools. Theoretical considerations suggest that how choice programs affect segregation will depend not only on the family preferences emphasized inthe sociology literature but also on the linkages between student composition, school quality and student achievement emphasized in the economics literature. Reasonable assumptions about the distribution of preferences over race, class, and school characteristics suggest that the segregating choices of students from advantaged backgrounds are likely to outweigh any integrating choices by disadvantaged students. The results of our empirical analysis are consistent with these theoretical considerations. Using information on the actual schools students attend and on the schools in their assigned attendance zones, we find that schools in Durham are more segregated by race and class as a result of school choice programs than they would be if all students attended their geographically assigned schools. In addition, we find that the effects of choice on segregation by class are larger than the ffects on segregation by race.

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Paper provided by Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University in its series Center for Policy Research Working Papers with number 109.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:109
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  1. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
  2. Stephen L. Ross, 2005. "The Continuing Practice and Impact of Discrimination," Working papers 2005-19, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2006.
  3. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R. & Scafidi, Benjamin, 2002. "Black Self-Segregation as a Cause of Housing Segregation: Evidence from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 366-390, March.
  4. John Yinger, 1978. "The Black-White Price Differential in Housing: Some Further Evidence," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(2), pages 187-206.
  5. Clotfelter, Charles T., 1979. "Urban school desegregation and declines in white enrollment: A reexamination," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 352-370, July.
  6. Lankford R. H. & Lee E. S. & Wyckoff J. H., 1995. "An Analysis of Elementary and Secondary School Choice," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 236-251, September.
  7. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803, August.
  8. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
  9. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2000. "The Impact of School Choice on Student Outcomes: An Analysis of the Chicago Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 7888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Eric Brunner & Jennifer Imazeki & Stephen L. Ross, 2006. "Universal Vouchers and Racial Segregation," Working papers 2006-01, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2008.
  11. King, A Thomas & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1973. "Racial Discrimination, Segregation, and the Price of Housing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 590-606, May-June.
  12. Patrick Bayer & Robert McMillan & Kim Rueben, 2005. "Residential Segregation in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 11095, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger & Stephanie K. Riegg, 2005. "School Quality, Neighborhoods and Housing Prices: The Impacts of school Desegregation," NBER Working Papers 11347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2006. "Teacher-Student Matching and the Assessment of Teacher Effectiveness," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(4).
  15. Robert Bifulco & Helen F. Ladd, 2007. "School choice, racial segregation, and test-score gaps: Evidence from North Carolina's charter school program*," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(1), pages 31-56.
  16. George C. Galster, 1982. "Black and White Preferences for Neighborhood Racial Composition," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 10(1), pages 39-66.
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