School Segregation, Educational Attainment and Crime: Evidence from the End of Busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg

52 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2012

See all articles by Stephen B. Billings

Stephen B. Billings

University of Colorado - Boulder

David Deming

Harvard University; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

David James Deming

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Jonah E. Rockoff

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2012

Abstract

We study the impact of the end of race-based busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools ("CMS") on academic achievement, educational attainment, and young adult crime. In 2001, CMS was prohibited from using race in assigning students to schools. School boundaries were redrawn dramatically to reflect the surrounding neighborhoods, and half of its students received a new assignment. Using addresses measured prior to the policy change, we compare students in the same neighborhood that lived on opposite sides of a newly drawn boundary. We find that both white and minority students score lower on high school exams when they are assigned to schools with more minority students. We also find decreases in high school graduation and four-year college attendance for whites, and large increases in crime for minority males. The impacts on achievement and attainment are smaller in younger cohorts, while the impact on crime remains large and persistent for at least nine years after the re-zoning. We show that compensatory resource allocation policies in CMS likely played an important role in mitigating the impact of segregation on achievement and attainment, but had no impact on crime. We conclude that the end of busing widened racial inequality, despite efforts by CMS to mitigate the impact of increases in segregation.

Suggested Citation

Billings, Stephen B. and Deming, David and Deming, David James and Rockoff, Jonah E., School Segregation, Educational Attainment and Crime: Evidence from the End of Busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg (October 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18487. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2164610

Stephen B. Billings (Contact Author)

University of Colorado - Boulder ( email )

Leeds School of Business
Koelbel Building
Boulder, CO US 80309
United States

David Deming

Harvard University ( email )

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

David James Deming

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jonah E. Rockoff

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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