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Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri

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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File URL: https://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2012/wp1212_koedel.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 1212.

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Length: 48 pgs.
Date of creation: 25 Sep 2012
Date of revision: 15 Jul 2013
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1212
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Web page: http://economics.missouri.edu/

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  1. Peter Arcidiacono & Cory Koedel, 2013. "Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri," NBER Working Papers 19188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Derek A. Neal & William R. Johnson, 1995. "The Role of Pre-Market Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," NBER Working Papers 5124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2010. "Why Have College Completion Rates Declined? An Analysis of Changing Student Preparation and Collegiate Resources," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 129-57, July.
  4. Arcidiacono, Peter & Khan, Shakeeb & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2011. "Representation versus assimilation: How do preferences in college admissions affect social interactions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 1-15.
  5. Patrick J. Bayer & Peter Arcidiacono & Aurel Hizmo, 2010. "Beyond Signaling and Human Capital: Education and the Revelation of Ability," Working Papers 10-51, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  6. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & Patrick Coate & V. Joseph Hotz, 2013. "Affirmative action and university fit: evidence from Proposition 209," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51565, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 37-89.
  8. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban M. Aucejo & V. Joseph Hotz, 2013. "University Differences in the Graduation of Minorities in STEM Fields: Evidence from California," NBER Working Papers 18799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Cory Koedel, 2008. "An Empirical Analysis of Teacher Spillover Effects in Secondary School," Working Papers 0808, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  10. Hoxby, Caroline M. & Avery, Christopher, 2015. "The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low Income Students," Research Papers 3323, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  11. Sarah Cohodes & Joshua Goodman, "undated". "Merit Aid, College Quality and College Completion: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship as an In-Kind Subsidy," Working Paper 144201, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  12. Audrey Light & Wayne Strayer, 2000. "Determinants of College Completion: School Quality or Student Ability?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 299-332.
  13. Jessica S. Howell, 2010. "Assessing the Impact of Eliminating Affirmative Action in Higher Education," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 113-166, 01.
  14. Cory Koedel, 2010. "Grading Standards in Education Departments at Universities," Working Papers 1002, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 13 Jun 2011.
  15. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 455-499, June.
  16. Sarah E. Turner & William G. Bowen, 1999. "Choice of Major: The Changing (Unchanging) Gender Gap," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 289-313, January.
  17. Esteban Aucejo, 2013. "Explaining cross-racial differences in the educational gender gap," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51560, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  18. Steven G. Rivkin, 1995. "Black/White Differences in Schooling and Employment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 826-852.
  19. Long, M.C.Mark C., 2004. "College applications and the effect of affirmative action," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 319-342.
  20. Dinardo, J. & Fortin, N.M. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: a Semiparametric Approach," Cahiers de recherche 9406, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  21. Eleanor Wiske Dillon & Jeffrey Andrew Smith, 2013. "The Determinants of Mismatch Between Students and Colleges," NBER Working Papers 19286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Rothstein, J.M.Jesse M., 2004. "College performance predictions and the SAT," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 297-317.
  23. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 2005. "Would the Elimination of Affirmative Action Affect Highly Qualified Minority Applicants? Evidence from California and Texas," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 416-434, April.
  24. Peter Arcidiacono, 2005. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education: How Do Admission and Financial Aid Rules Affect Future Earnings?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1477-1524, 09.
  25. Audrey Light & Wayne Strayer, 2002. "From Bakke To Hopwood: Does Race Affect College Attendance And Completion?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 34-44, February.
  26. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2006. "Estimating the Returns to College Quality with Multiple Proxies for Quality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 701-728, July.
  27. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & Ken Spenner, 2012. "What happens after enrollment? An analysis of the time path of racial differences in GPA and major choice," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-24, December.
  28. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2007. "Teachers and Student Achievement in the Chicago Public High Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 95-135.
  29. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
  30. Mark C. Long, 2004. "Race and College Admissions: An Alternative to Affirmative Action?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 1020-1033, November.
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