Paying for Progress: Conditional Grants and the Desegregation of Southern Schools
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.
For their helpful comments and questions, we are grateful to seminar participants at Duke, Georgetown, Northwestern, Stanford, UBC, UCD, UCI, UCSD, UCR, the All-UC Labor Workshop, the University of Virginia, the NBER Economics of Education and Development of the American Economy program meetings, and the annual meetings of the AEA, SSHA, and SOLE. We would especially like to thank Patty Anderson, Sandra Black, Leah Platt Boustan, Ken Chay, Julie Cullen, Jon Guryan, Larry Katz, Sean Reardon, and Doug Staiger, as well as four anonymous referees. Jeremy Gerst, Maria Kahle, Farah Kaiksow, Allison Kidd, Cyrus Kosar, Eric Larsen, Patricia Tong, and Courtney Wicher provided indispensable research assistance. This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (Award Number 0519126), the Spencer Foundation (Award Number #200600131), and the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research Regional Small Grants Program. Cascio gratefully acknowledges support from a Junior Faculty Research Grant from the Institute of Governmental Affairs at UC Davis. Gordon and Reber gratefully acknowledge support from the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation postdoctoral fellowship. The data presented, the statements made, and the views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors.
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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