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Historical Perspectives on Racial Differences in Schooling in the United States

  • William J. Collins
  • Robert A. Margo

African-Americans entered the post-Civil War era with extremely low levels of exposure to schooling. Relying primarily on micro-level census data, we describe racial differences in literacy rates, school attendance, years of educational attainment, age-in-grade distributions, spending per pupil, and returns to literacy since emancipation, with emphasis on the pre-1960 period. The overwhelming theme is one of educational convergence, despite overt discrimination for much of the period studied, and subject to several qualifications. We interpret this theme in light of a simple model of educational attainment.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9770.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9770.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Publication status: published as Collins, William J. & Margo, Robert A., 2006. "Historical Perspectives on Racial Differences in Schooling in the United States," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9770
Note: ED DAE LS
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  1. Donohue, John J, III & Heckman, James, 1991. "Continuous versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1603-43, December.
  2. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "The Pursuit of Opportunity: Explaining Selective Black Migration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 391-417, May.
  3. Pritchett, Jonathan B., 1989. "The Burden of Negro Schooling: Tax Incidence and Racial Redistribution in Postbellum North Carolina," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 966-973, December.
  4. Margo, Robert A, 1991. "Segregated Schools and the Mobility Hypothesis: A Model of Local Government Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 61-73, February.
  5. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," NBER Working Papers 3713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Margo, Robert A, 1986. "Race and Human Capital: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1221-24, December.
  7. Higgs, Robert, 1982. "Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks before World War I," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 725-37, September.
  8. Claudia Goldin, 1990. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold90-1, May.
  9. Margo, Robert A, 1984. "Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks before World War I: Comment and Further Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 768-76, September.
  10. William J.Collins & Robert A. Margo, 2000. "Race and Home Ownership: A Century-Long View," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0012, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  11. Smith, James P, 1986. "Race and Human Capital: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1225-29, December.
  12. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-64, June.
  13. Robert A. Margo, 1985. "Education Achievement in Segregated School Systems: The Effects of "Separate-But-Equal"," NBER Working Papers 1620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-98, September.
  15. Goldin, Claudia, 1998. "America's Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(02), pages 345-374, June.
  16. Robert A. Margo, 2002. "The North-South Wage Gap, Before and After the Civil War," NBER Working Papers 8778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Stanley L. Engerman & Stephen H. Haber & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2000. "Inequality, institution and differential paths of growth among New World economies," Chapters, in: Institutions, Contracts and Organizations, chapter 11 Edward Elgar.
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