The Effect of Catholic Secondary Schooling on Educational Attainment
Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, this paper provides a detailed analysis of the effect of Catholic secondary schooling on high-school graduation rates and also examines Catholic schooling's effect on college graduation rates and future wages. The paper uses data from the National Catholic Educational Association and the Survey of Churches and Church Membership to construct measures of access to Catholic secondary schooling for each county in the United States. These measures of access provide potential instruments for Catholic school attendance. The results indicate that Catholic secondary schools are geographically concentrated in urban areas and that Catholic schooling greatly increases educational attainment among urban minorities. The gains from Catholic schooling are modest for urban whites and negligible for suburban whites. Related analyses suggest that urban minorities benefit greatly from access to Catholic schooling primarily because the public schools available to them are quite poor.