Testing for Racial Differences in the Mental Ability of Young Children
On tests of intelligence, Blacks systematically score worse than Whites, whereas Asians frequently outperform Whites. Some have argued that genetic differences across races account for the gap. Using a newly available nationally representative data set that includes a test of mental function for children aged eight to twelve months, we find only minor racial differences in test outcomes (0.06 standard deviation units in the raw data) between Blacks and Whites that disappear with the inclusion of a limited set of controls. The only statistically significant racial difference is that Asian children score slightly worse than those of other races. To the extent that there are any genetically-driven racial differences in intelligence, these gaps must either emerge after the age of one, or operate along dimensions not captured by this early test of mental cognition.
|Date of creation:||Mar 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Roland G Fryer & Steven D Levitt, 2013. "Testing for Racial Differences in the Mental Ability of Young Children," American Economic Review, vol 103(2), pages 981-1005.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
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- Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004.
"Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 447-464, May.
- Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Steven D. Levitt, 2002. "Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School," NBER Working Papers 8975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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