Desegregation and Black Dropout Rates
University of Chicago
Whether desegregation plans of the last 30 years benefited Black and White students in desegregated school districts.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
The American Economic Review
Vol. 94, No. 4, pp. 919-943
- Results suggested desegregation plans of the 1970's reduced high school dropout rates of Blacks by two to three percentage points during this decade, No significant changes is observed among Whites.
- Dropout rates among Blacks declined between 1970 and 1980 by two to three percentage points in districts that desegregated in the interim relative to districts that desegregated both earlier and later.
- In 1970, the Black high school dropout rate was higher in districts that desegregated in the 70's than in both 60's and 870's desegregation districts. Over the same period, the dropout rate remained constant in districts that did not initiated desegregation plans during the decade.
- Result imply that dropout rates remained unchanged in districts that did not desegregate during the decade. In contrast, dropout rates in districts that desegregated during 1970's declined by 3.8 percentage points.
- Interestingly, the effect of desegregation is almost identical when estimated separately inside and outside the South.
- There does not seems to be any evidence of a change in White high school dropout rates in desegregating districts during the 1970's.
- Taken together, the results for Blacks and Whites strongly suggest that desegregation plans led to declines in Black high school dropout rates. All of the decline in Black high school dropout rates between 1970 and 1980 occurred in districts that desegregated during the decade. The estimated effect is fairly robust to regression controls.
The lack of similar decline in White dropout rates suggest that the Black results are not driven by secular trends in dropout rates in the districts that integrated during the 1970's.
- In districts that increased within school integration, Black dropout rates declined more markedly.
- The estimates suggest that nonvoluntary plans were associated with markedly larger declines in Black high school dropout rates.
- There does not seem to be any evidence that the length of exposure to integration has a compounding effect on dropout rates.
- The immediate effect of desegregation appears to be larger than the long run effect.
- Desegregation plans of the 1970's led to significant declines in Black high school dropout rates during the decade.
Journal Article Empirical Research
African American, Desegregation, Dropouts, Peer Effects
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Difference in Difference Regression
Large School Districts
Unit of Analysis:
- Census Data from the 1970 and 1980
- Study asks three main questions: (1) Did desegregation plans lead to more racial integration? (2) Did this integration happen immediately or over the course of several years? (3) Did racial integration last for ten years?
- Uses dissimilarity index and exposure rates.
- Analyses focuses on sample of large school districts, 86% of which implemented desegregation plans between 1961 and 1982.
- Treatment groups: School district that implemented desegregation plans.
- Control groups: School district that did not implemented desegregation plans.
- Desegregation plans affect Black dropout rates through three main channels: (1) affects the set of peers with which students attend school, may move Black students to better schools and parents may become more involved in their children's education has a result of increased information, or in order to reap the benefits of the fight they have recently won.
- DV: Dropout rates
- IV: Desegregation plans