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Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri

  • Peter Arcidiacono
  • Cory Koedel

Conditional on enrollment, African American students are substantially less likely to graduate from 4-year public universities than white students. Using administrative micro data from Missouri, we decompose the graduation gap between African Americans and whites into four factors: (1) racial differences in how students sort to universities, (2) racial differences in how students sort to initial majors, (3) racial differences in school quality prior to entry, and (4) racial differences in other observed pre-entry skills. Pre-entry skills explain 65 and 86 percent of the gap for women and men respectively. A small role is found for differential sorting into college, particularly for women, and this is driven by African Americans being disproportionately represented at urban schools and the schools at the very bottom of the quality distribution.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19188.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Publication status: published as Peter Arcidiacono & Cory Koedel, 2014. "Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 20-57, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19188
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