School Segregation, Educational Attainment and Crime: Evidence from the end of busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg
We study the impact of the end of race-based busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools ("CMS") on academic achievement, educational attainment, and young adult crime. In 2001, CMS was prohibited from using race in assigning students to schools. School boundaries were redrawn dramatically to reflect the surrounding neighborhoods, and half of its students received a new assignment. Using addresses measured prior to the policy change, we compare students in the same neighborhood that lived on opposite sides of a newly drawn boundary. We find that both white and minority students score lower on high school exams when they are assigned to schools with more minority students. We also find decreases in high school graduation and four-year college attendance for whites, and large increases in crime for minority males. The impacts on achievement and attainment are smaller in younger cohorts, while the impact on crime remains large and persistent for at least nine years after the re-zoning. We show that compensatory resource allocation policies in CMS likely played an important role in mitigating the impact of segregation on achievement and attainment, but had no impact on crime. We conclude that the end of busing widened racial inequality, despite efforts by CMS to mitigate the impact of increases in segregation.
We wish to thank Kehinde Ajayi, Josh Angrist, Felipe Barrera-Osorio, Elizabeth Cascio, Caroline Hoxby, Richard Murnane, Amanda Pallais, Sarah Reber, Steven Rivkin, Stephen Ross, Marty West, and seminar participants at the NBER Education Meetings, the AEFP and APPAM research conferences, and the University of Connecticut for helpful comments and suggestions. Special thanks to Andy Baxter and Tom Tomberlin at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Brian Cunningham, Mike Humphrey, Monica Nguyen and Paul Paskoff at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Julia Rush at the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department for their assistance with putting the data together for the project. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
School Segregation, Educational Attainment, and Crime: Evidence from the End of Busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg* Stephen B. Billings, David J. Deming and Jonah Rockoff The Quarterly Journal of Economics (2014) 129 (1): 435-476. doi: 10.1093/qje/qjt026 First published online: September 17, 2013