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Historical Perspectives on Racial Differences in Schooling in the United States

Author

Listed:
  • William J. Collins

    () (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • Robert A. Margo

    () (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 2003. "Historical Perspectives on Racial Differences in Schooling in the United States," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0313, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0313
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert A. Margo, 2000. "Wages and Labor Markets in the United States, 1820-1860," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number marg00-1, January.
    2. Fishback, Price V & Baskin, John S, 1991. "Narrowing the Black-White Gap in Child Literacy in 1910: The Roles of School Inputs and Family Inputs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 725-728, November.
    3. Higgs, Robert, 1982. "Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks before World War I," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 725-737, September.
    4. Perlmann, Joel & Margo, Robert A., 2001. "Women's Work?," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226660394.
    5. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 151-200.
    6. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
    7. 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 1603-1643, December.
    8. Margo, Robert A, 1987. "Accounting for Racial Differences in School Attendance in the American South, 1900: The Role of Separate-but-Equal," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 661-666, November.
    9. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-698, September.
    10. Margo, Robert A, 1986. "Educational Achievement in Segregated School Systems: The Effects of "Separate-but-Equal."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 794-801, September.
    11. Moehling, Carolyn M., 2004. "Family structure, school attendance, and child labor in the American South in 1900 and 1910," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 73-100, January.
    12. 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 768-776, September.
    13. Robert A. Margo, 2000. "Introduction to "Wages and Labor Markets in the United States, 1820-1860"," NBER Chapters,in: Wages and Labor Markets in the United States, 1820-1860, pages 1-5 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Robert A. Margo, 1990. "Race and Schooling in the South, 1880-1950: An Economic History," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number marg90-1, January.
    15. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "The Pursuit of Opportunity: Explaining Selective Black Migration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 391-417, May.
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    17. Smith, James P, 1986. "Race and Human Capital: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1225-1229, December.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. 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 Publishing.
    21. John J. Donohue III & James J. Heckman & Petra E. Todd, 2002. "The Schooling of Southern Blacks: The Roles of Legal Activism and Private Philanthropy, 1910–1960," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 225-268.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Costa, Dora L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2006. "Forging a New Identity: The Costs and Benefits of Diversity in Civil War Combat Units for Black Slaves and Freemen," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(04), pages 936-962, December.
    2. Rucker C. Johnson, 2011. "Long-run Impacts of School Desegregation & School Quality on Adult Attainments," NBER Working Papers 16664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2011. "The Evolution of the Racial Gap in Education and the Legacy of Slavery," IZA Discussion Papers 6192, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2014. "Slavery, education, and inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 197-209.
    5. Lisa Cook, 2014. "Violence and economic activity: evidence from African American patents, 1870–1940," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 221-257, June.
    6. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2012. "The racial gap in education and the legacy of slavery," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 581-595.
    7. Mason, Patrick, 2007. "Intergenerational mobility and interraical inequality:the return to family values," MPRA Paper 11327, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Dionissi Aliprantis & Daniel R. Carroll, 2012. "Neighborhood dynamics and the distribution of opportunity," Working Paper 1212, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, revised 01 Feb 2013.
    9. Leah Boustan & Robert A. Margo, 2014. "Racial Differences in Health in Long-Run Perspective: A Brief Introduction," NBER Working Papers 20765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. William F. Maloney & Felipe Valencia Caicedo, 2017. "Engineering Growth: Innovative Capacity and Development in the Americas," CESifo Working Paper Series 6339, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Maloney, William F. & Valencia, Felipe Caicedo, 2014. "Engineers, Innovative Capacity and Development in the Americas," IZA Discussion Papers 8271, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Ilyana Kuziemko, 2011. "Human Capital Spillovers in Families: Do Parents Learn from or Lean on their Children?," NBER Working Papers 17235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Suresh Naidu, 2012. "Suffrage, Schooling, and Sorting in the Post-Bellum U.S. South," NBER Working Papers 18129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Brown; education; Plessy;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

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