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Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri

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Abstract

Conditional on enrollment, African American entrants at 4-year public universities are much less likely to graduate, and graduate in STEM fields, than white entrants. Using administrative micro data from Missouri, we show that the success gaps between African-American and white students in college can be explained by three factors: (1) racial differences in how students sort to universities and majors, (2) racial differences in high-school quality prior to entry, and (3) racial differences in other observed pre-entry skills. We decompose the success gaps between African Americans and whites to identify the relative importance of these three factors. Even holding racial differences in high-school quality and pre-entry skills fixed, we find that a non-negligible fraction of the racial gap in graduation rates can be explained by differences in student sorting across universities and majors (10 to 20 percent). Differences in observed measures of pre-entry skills – primarily students’ high-school class rankings conditional on high school of attendance – are consistently the most important determinants of the success gaps by race. Differences in pre-entry skills explain a larger share of the graduation gap for men than for women, and most of the racial gaps in STEM attainment (conditional on STEM entry) for both genders

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  • Cory Koedel & Peter Arcidiacono, 2012. "Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri," Working Papers 1212, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 15 Jul 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1212
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    Cited by:

    1. Erwin Ooghe & Erik Schokkaert, 2016. "School accountability: can we reward schools and avoid pupil selection?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 46(2), pages 359-387, February.
    2. Rodney J. Andrews & Scott A. Imberman & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2017. "Risky Business? The Effect of Majoring in Business on Earnings and Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 23575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd R. Stinebrickner, 2014. "A Major in Science? Initial Beliefs and Final Outcomes for College Major and Dropout," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 426-472.
    4. Tolga Yuret, 2016. "Students Trapped in the Centralized University Admissions System," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(1), pages 522-527.
    5. Rajeev Darolia & Cory Koedel, 2016. "How High Schools Explain Students’Initial Colleges and Majors," Working Papers WP16-09, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised Apr 2017.
    6. Emmons, William R. & Noeth, Bryan J., 2013. "Economic vulnerability and financial fragility," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 361-388.
    7. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & Patrick Coate & V. Joseph Hotz, 2012. "Affirmative Action and University Fit: Evidence from Proposition 209," NBER Working Papers 18523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Peter Arcidiacono & Cory Koedel, 2014. "Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 20-57, July.
    9. Mohamed Arouri & Adel Ben-Youssef & Cuong Nguyen, 2016. "Ethnic and racial disparities in children's education Comparative evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Viet Nam," WIDER Working Paper Series 087, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Diyi Li & Cory Koedel, 2016. "Representation and Salary Gaps by Race/Ethnicity and Gender at Selective Public Universities," Working Papers 2016-13, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised Apr 2017.
    11. Li Tan & Cory Koedel, 2017. "The Effects of Differential Income Replacement and Mortality on U.S. Social Security Redistributions," Working Papers 2017-01, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised Feb 2018.
    12. Rodney J. Andrews & Scott A. Imberman & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2016. "Recruiting and Supporting Low-Income, High-Achieving Students at Flagship Universities," NBER Working Papers 22260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Peter Arcidiacono & Michael Lovenheim, 2016. "Affirmative Action and the Quality-Fit Trade-Off," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 3-51, March.
    14. William R. Johnson, 2017. "Parties or Problem Sets: Review Article on How College Works and Paying for the Party," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 136-147, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    black-white achievement gap; black-white graduation gap; black-white college gap; racial college gap; racial achievement gap;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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