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Long-run Impacts of School Desegregation & School Quality on Adult Attainments

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  • Rucker C. Johnson

Abstract

This paper investigates the long-run impacts of court-ordered school desegregation on an array of adult socioeconomic and health outcomes. The study analyzes the life trajectories of children born between 1945 and 1968, and followed through 2013, using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). The PSID data are linked with multiple data sources that describe the neighborhood attributes, school quality resources, and coincident policies that prevailed at the time these children were growing up. I exploit quasi-random variation in the timing of initial court orders, which generated differences in the timing and scope of the implementation of desegregation plans during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Event study analyses as well as 2SLS and sibling-difference estimates indicate that school desegregation and the accompanied increases in school quality resulted in significant improvements in adult attainments for blacks. I find that, for blacks, school desegregation significantly increased both educational and occupational attainments, college quality and adult earnings, reduced the probability of incarceration, and improved adult health status; desegregation had no effects on whites across each of these outcomes. The results suggest that the mechanisms through which school desegregation led to beneficial adult attainment outcomes for blacks include improvement in access to school resources reflected in reductions in class size and increases in per-pupil spending.

Suggested Citation

  • Rucker C. Johnson, 2011. "Long-run Impacts of School Desegregation & School Quality on Adult Attainments," NBER Working Papers 16664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16664
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen B. Billings & David J. Deming & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2012. "School Segregation, Educational Attainment and Crime: Evidence from the end of busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg," NBER Working Papers 18487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David Frisvold & Ezra Golberstein, 2013. "The Effect of School Quality on Black-White Health Differences: Evidence From Segregated Southern Schools," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(6), pages 1989-2012, December.
    3. Tsunao Okumura & Emiko Usui, 2016. "Intergenerational Transmission of Skills and Differences in Labor Market Outcomes for Blacks and Whites," Research in Labor Economics,in: Inequality: Causes and Consequences, volume 43, pages 227-286 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    4. C. Kirabo Jackson & Rucker C. Johnson & Claudia Persico, 2016. "The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(1), pages 157-218.
    5. C. Kirabo Jackson & Rucker Johnson & Claudia Persico, 2014. "The Effect of School Finance Reforms on the Distribution of Spending, Academic Achievement, and Adult Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 20118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Johnson Rucker C., 2012. "Health Dynamics and the Evolution of Health Inequality over the Life Course: The Importance of Neighborhood and Family Background," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-69, January.
    7. Hugh Macartney & John D. Singleton, 2017. "School Boards and Student Segregation," NBER Working Papers 23619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Catherine J. Weinberger, 2017. "Engineering Educational Opportunity: Impacts of 1970s and 1980s Policies to Increase the Share of Black College Graduates with a Major in Engineering or Computer Science," NBER Chapters,in: U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy, pages 87-128 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Peter Temin, 2015. "The American Dual Economy: Race, Globalization, and the Politics of Exclusion," Working Papers Series 26, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    10. Hinrichs, Peter, 2014. "An Empirical Analysis of Racial Segregation in Higher Education," Working Paper 1435, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    11. Carbone, Jared C. & Kverndokk, Snorre, 2014. "Individual investments in education and health," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2014:1, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
    12. Catherine J. Weinberger, 2017. "Engineering Educational Opportunity: Impacts of 1970s and 1980s Policies to Increase the Share of Black College Graduates with Major in Engineering or Computer Science," NBER Working Papers 23703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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