Monday, July 30, 2007
Economists weigh in on "From Brown to Busing"
Posted by Mary L. Dudziak
From Brown to Busing is a new paper posted by Elizabeth Cascio, University of California, Davis - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Nora Gordon, (affiliation unknown) and Ethan G. Lewis, Dartmouth College - Department of Economics. You have to pay to download the paper itself, but check with your library -- perhaps they have a subscription. Here's the abstract: An extensive literature debates the causes and consequences of the desegregation of American schools in the twentieth century. Despite the social importance of desegregation and the magnitude of the literature, we have lacked a comprehensive accounting of the basic facts of school desegregation. This paper uses newly assembled data to document when and how Southern school districts desegregated as well as the extent of court involvement in the desegregation process over the two full decades after Brown. We also examine heterogeneity in the path to desegregation by district characteristics. The results suggest that the existing quantitative literature, which generally either begins in 1968 and focuses on the role of federal courts in larger urban districts or relies on highly aggregated data, often tells an incomplete story of desegregation.