How Economic Segregation Affects Children's Educational Attainment
Economic segregation increased in the United States between 1970 and 1990. Three hypotheses suggest that this would affect low-income children's educational attainment. The political economy of school funding and predicts that economically segregated school districts reduce the educational attainment of low-income children. Two other hypotheses emphasize the effect of inequality within neighborhoods. But they produce opposite predictions about the effect of economic segregation on educational attainment. None of the hypothesis provides a firm prediction about the effect of economic segregation on overall educational attainment. I combine Census data with data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamic to show that an increase in economic segregation between census tracts in the same state hardly changes overall educational attainment but it exacerbates inequality between high-income and low-income children. With overall inequality held constant changes in economic inequality within census tracts have little effect on low-income children's educational attainment.
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