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Desegregation and Black Dropout Rates

  • Jonathan Guryan

In 1954 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that separate schools for black and white children were 'inherently unequal.' This paper studies whether the desegregation plans of the next 30 years in fact benefited the black students for whom the plans were designed. Analysis of data from the 1970 and 1980 censuses suggests that desegregation plans of the 1970's reduced the high school dropout rates of blacks by one to three percentage points during this decade. Desegregation plans can account for about half of the decline in dropout rates of blacks between 1970 and 1980. A similar analysis suggests that desegregation plans had no effect on the dropout rates of whites. The results are robust to controls for time-varying region and family income effects, as well as to tests for selective migration, though mean reversion may account for some portion of the larger estimated effects. Further investigation of conditions in segregated schools in 1970 suggests that peer effects explain at least some of the decline in the dropout rates of blacks due to desegregation plans.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8345.

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Date of creation: Jun 2001
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Publication status: published as Guryan, Jonathan. "Desegregation And Black Dropout Rates," American Economic Review, 2004, v94(4,Sep), 919-943.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8345
Note: LS
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  1. Jonathan Guryan, 2001. "Desegregation and Black Dropout Rates," NBER Working Papers 8345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-91, October.
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  18. Charles T. Clotfelter, 1999. "Public School Segregation in Metropolitan Areas," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(4), pages 487-504.
  19. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Empirical Strategies in Labor Economics," Working papers 98-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  20. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
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  22. Peltzman, Sam, 1996. "Political Economy of Public Education: Non-College-Bound Students," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(1), pages 73-120, April.
  23. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
  24. Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Brewer, Dominic J., 1994. "Do school and teacher characteristics matter? Evidence from High School and Beyond," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-17, March.
  25. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  26. Grogger, Jeff, 1996. "Does School Quality Explain the Recent Black/White Wage Trend?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 231-53, April.
  27. Stephen Godfeld & Richard Quandt, 1973. "The Estimation Of Structural Shifts By Switching Regressions," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 2, number 4, pages 473-483 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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