Segregation and the Black-White Test Score Gap

37 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2007  

Jacob L. Vigdor

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jens Ludwig

Georgetown University - Public Policy Institute (GPPI); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: March 2007

Abstract

The mid-1980s witnessed breaks in two important trends related to race and schooling. School segregation, which had been declining, began a period of relative stasis. Black-white test score gaps, which had also been declining, also stagnated. The notion that these two phenomena may be related is also supported by basic cross-sectional evidence. We review existing literature on the relationship between neighborhood- and school-level segregation and the test score gap. Several recent studies point to a statistically significant causal relationship between school segregation and the test score gap, though in many cases the magnitude of the relationship is small in economic terms. Experimental studies, as well as methodologically convincing non-experimental studies, suggest that there is little if any causal role for neighborhood segregation operating through a mechanism other than school segregation.

Suggested Citation

Vigdor, Jacob L. and Ludwig, Jens, Segregation and the Black-White Test Score Gap (March 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w12988. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=975929

Jacob L. Vigdor (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Jens Ludwig

Georgetown University - Public Policy Institute (GPPI) ( email )

3600 N Street, NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 20057
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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