NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri

Peter Arcidiacono, Cory Koedel

NBER Working Paper No. 19188
Issued in June 2013
NBER Program(s):   ED

Conditional on enrollment, African American students are substantially less likely to graduate from 4-year public universities than white students. Using administrative micro data from Missouri, we decompose the graduation gap between African Americans and whites into four factors: (1) racial differences in how students sort to universities, (2) racial differences in how students sort to initial majors, (3) racial differences in school quality prior to entry, and (4) racial differences in other observed pre-entry skills. Pre-entry skills explain 65 and 86 percent of the gap for women and men respectively. A small role is found for differential sorting into college, particularly for women, and this is driven by African Americans being disproportionately represented at urban schools and the schools at the very bottom of the quality distribution.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19188

Published: Peter Arcidiacono & Cory Koedel, 2014. "Race and College Success: Evidence from Missouri," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 20-57, July. citation courtesy of

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