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New Evidence about Brown v. Board of Education: The Complex Effects of School Racial Composition on Achievement

  • Eric A. Hanushek
  • John F. Kain
  • Steven G. Rivkin

Uncovering the effects of school racial composition on achievement is difficult, because racial mixing in the schools is not an accident but instead represents a complex mixture of government and family choices. While the goals of the integration of schools legally inspired by Brown v. Board of Education are very broad, here we focus more narrowly on how school racial composition effects scholastic achievement. Our evaluation, made possible by rich panel data on the achievement of Texas students, disentangles racial composition effects from other aspects of school quality and from differences in student abilities and family background. The results show that a higher percentage of Black schoolmates has a strong adverse effect on achievement of Blacks and, moreover, that the effects are highly concentrated in the upper half of the ability distribution. In contrast, racial composition has a noticeably smaller effect on achievement of lower ability blacks, of whites, and of Hispanics -- strongly suggesting that the results are not a simple reflection of unmeasured school quality.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8741.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8741.

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Date of creation: Jan 2002
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Publication status: published as Hanushek, Eric A., John F. Kain and Steven G. Rivkin. "New evidence about Brown v. Board of Education: The complex effects of school racial composition on achievement." Journal of Labor Economics 27, 3 (July 2009).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8741
Note: CH PE ED
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  1. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Jacob M. Markman & Steven G. Rivkin, 2001. "Does Peer Ability Affect Student Achievement?," NBER Working Papers 8502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2000. "Interactions-Based Models," Working Papers 00-05-028, Santa Fe Institute.
  3. Lawrence F. Katz & Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Moving To Opportunity In Boston: Early Results Of A Randomized Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 607-654, May.
  4. Cutler, David M & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-72, August.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Jens Otto Ludwig & Greg Duncan & Paul Hirschfield, 2000. "Urban Poverty and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment," JCPR Working Papers 158, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  8. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1997. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," NBER Working Papers 5881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803, August.
  10. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  11. Clotfelter, Charles T. & Ladd, Helen F. & Vigdor, Jacob, 2005. "Who teaches whom? Race and the distribution of novice teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 377-392, August.
  12. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Eric A. Hanushek, 1979. "Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-388.
  14. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
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