What Determines School Segregation? The Crucial Role of Neighborhood Factors

52 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2020 Last revised: 28 Aug 2022

See all articles by Gregorio Caetano

Gregorio Caetano

University of Georgia

Hugh Macartney

Duke University - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2020

Abstract

We develop a novel strategy to identify the relative importance of school and neighborhood factors in determining school segregation. Using detailed student enrollment and residential location data, our research design compares differences in student composition between adjacent Census blocks served by different schools to analogous differences between those schools. Our findings indicate that neighborhood factors explain around 62% of racial segregation and 44% of economic segregation across all schools, playing an even more pronounced role in urban areas, where school segregation has been especially acute. These findings suggest that the involvement of urban planners is essential when attempting to confront inequality of opportunity through education.

Suggested Citation

Caetano, Gregorio and Macartney, Hugh, What Determines School Segregation? The Crucial Role of Neighborhood Factors (August 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27688, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3675240

Gregorio Caetano (Contact Author)

University of Georgia ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

Hugh Macartney

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

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