The Long-Term Effects of American Indian Boarding Schools
56 Pages Posted: 7 May 2016 Last revised: 22 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 12, 2017
This paper explores some long-standing questions of the legacy of American Indian boarding schools by comparing contemporary Indian reservations that experienced differing impacts in the past from boarding schools. Combining recent reservation-level census data and school enrollment data from 1911 to 1932, I find that reservations that sent a larger share of students to off-reservation boarding schools have higher high school graduation rates, higher per capita income, lower poverty rates, a greater proportion of exclusively English speakers, and smaller family sizes. These results are supported when distance to the nearest off-reservation boarding school that subsequently closed is used as an instrument for the proportion of past boarding school students. I conclude with a discussion of the possible reasons for this link.
Keywords: Education; Development; Assimilation; American Indians
JEL Classification: I20, I25, J15, N31, Z1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation