NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Paying for Progress: Conditional Grants and the Desegregation of Southern Schools

Elizabeth Cascio, Nora Gordon, Ethan Lewis, Sarah Reber

NBER Working Paper No. 14869
Issued in April 2009
NBER Program(s):CH, DAE, ED, PE

This paper examines how a large conditional grants program influenced school desegregation in the American South. Exploiting newly collected archival data and quasi-experimental variation in potential per-pupil federal grants, we show that school districts with more at risk in 1966 were more likely to desegregate just enough to receive their funds. Although the program did not raise the exposure of blacks to whites like later court orders, districts with larger grants at risk in 1966 were less likely to be under court order through 1970, suggesting that tying federal funds to nondiscrimination reduced the burden of desegregation on federal courts.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14869

Published: Elizabeth Cascio & Nora Gordon & Ethan Lewis & Sarah Reber, 2010. "Paying for Progress: Conditional Grants and the Desegregation of Southern Schools," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 445-482, February. citation courtesy of

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