Why Are Ghettos Bad? Examining the Role of Educational Experiences

Delia Furtado, University of Connecticut
Stephen Ross, University of Connecticut
Robert Bifulco, Syracuse University

Relative to whites, African Americans that reside in highly segregated metropolitan areas have worse education and labor market outcomes than those that reside in less segregated areas. This paper examines the extent to which cross-metropolitan differences in school environments can explain this empirical relationship. Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 merged with the Common Core of Data, we test whether racial differences in school exposure to single-parent families, standardized test scores, African American teachers, and English as a Second Language (ESL) students can explain the negative impact of residential segregation. We find little evidence to support the idea that the negative impact of residential segregation of African Americans operates through its effect on school environments. This suggests that segregation harms African Americans primarily because it concentrates them into neighborhoods with low levels of income, human capital or related endowments.

  See paper

Presented in Session 160: Residential Segregation and Labor Market Outcomes