NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

Public Universities, Equal Opportunity, and the Legacy of Jim Crow: Evidence from North Carolina

Charles T. Clotfelter, Helen F. Ladd, Jacob L. Vigdor

NBER Working Paper No. 21577
Issued in September 2015
NBER Program(s):Economics of Education

College attendance and completion in the U.S. are strongly correlated with race and socioeconomic background. Do public postsecondary institutions themselves exacerbate pre-college disparities, or reduce them? We address this question using longitudinal data linking the records of students at North Carolina’s public four-year universities to their public K-12 records. As a result of an institutional structure forged during the period of Jim Crow segregation, black students who attend the state’s public university system are likely to experience markedly more racial isolation in college than they did in middle school. Another, more positive consequence of this structure is to boost in-state public four-year college enrollment and graduation by African-American students relative to white students with similar backgrounds. Conditional on enrolling in one of the state’s public universities, however, black students lag behind whites in grades and graduation rates. Regarding socioeconomic background, we find that lower-status youth are less likely to enter the system and less likely to succeed once they enter than those with higher status. The socioeconomic gap in graduation rates among matriculants has, however, declined in recent years.

download in pdf format
   (618 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21577

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Fryer w16256 Racial Inequality in the 21st Century: The Declining Significance of Discrimination
Black, Cortes, and Arnold Lincove w21368 Apply Yourself: Racial and Ethnic Differences in College Application
Currie w16798 Inequality at Birth: Some Causes and Consequences
Card and Giuliano w21519 Can Universal Screening Increase the Representation of Low Income and Minority Students in Gifted Education?
Bailey and Dynarski w17633 Gains and Gaps: Changing Inequality in U.S. College Entry and Completion
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us