New Evidence About Brown V. Board of Education: The Complex Effects of School Racial Composition on Achievement

43 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2002 Last revised: 28 Nov 2009

See all articles by Eric A. Hanushek

Eric A. Hanushek

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

John F. Kain

University of Texas at Dallas - Cecil and Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 2002

Abstract

Uncovering the effects of school racial composition on achievement is difficult, because racial mixing in the schools is not an accident but instead represents a complex mixture of government and family choices. While the goals of the integration of schools legally inspired by Brown v. Board of Education are very broad, here we focus more narrowly on how school racial composition effects scholastic achievement. Our evaluation, made possible by rich panel data on the achievement of Texas students, disentangles racial composition effects from other aspects of school quality and from differences in student abilities and family background. The results show that a higher percentage of Black schoolmates has a strong adverse effect on achievement of Blacks and, moreover, that the effects are highly concentrated in the upper half of the ability distribution. In contrast, racial composition has a noticeably smaller effect on achievement of lower ability blacks, of whites, and of Hispanics -- strongly suggesting that the results are not a simple reflection of unmeasured school quality.

Suggested Citation

Hanushek, Eric A. and Kain, John F. and Rivkin, Steven G., New Evidence About Brown V. Board of Education: The Complex Effects of School Racial Composition on Achievement (January 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w8741. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=298265

Eric A. Hanushek (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-736-0942 (Phone)
650-723-1687 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Munich, DE-81679
Germany

John F. Kain

University of Texas at Dallas - Cecil and Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society ( email )

Mail Station GC21
Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States
(972) 883-2555 (Phone)
(972) 883-2551 (Fax)

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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