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From Brown to Busing

  • Elizabeth Cascio
  • Nora Gordon
  • Ethan Lewis
  • Sarah Reber

An extensive literature debates the causes and consequences of the desegregation of American schools in the twentieth century. Despite the social importance of desegregation and the magnitude of the literature, we have lacked a comprehensive accounting of the basic facts of school desegregation. This paper uses newly assembled data to document when and how Southern school districts desegregated as well as the extent of court involvement in the desegregation process over the two full decades after Brown. We also examine heterogeneity in the path to desegregation by district characteristics. The results suggest that the existing quantitative literature, which generally either begins in 1968 and focuses on the role of federal courts in larger urban districts or relies on highly aggregated data, often tells an incomplete story of desegregation.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13279.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
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Publication status: published as Cascio, Elizabeth & Gordon, Nora & Lewis, Ethan & Reber, Sarah, 2008. "From Brown to busing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 296-325, September.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13279
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  1. Michael A. Boozer & Alan B. Krueger & Shari Wolkon, 1992. "Race and School Quality Since Brown vs. Board of Education," NBER Working Papers 4109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jonathan Guryan, 2004. "Desegregation and Black Dropout Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 919-943, September.
  3. Orley Ashenfelter & William J. Collins & Albert Yoon, 2005. "Evaluating the Role of Brown vs. Board of Education in School Equalization, Desegregation, and the Income of African Americans," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0515, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
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