Thursday, March 31, 2016

Labor Market Consequences of High School Racial Composition

School racial composition has modest effects on test score gaps, but evidence of a longer-term impact is scarce. Perpetuation theory suggests that blacks who attend schools with higher proportions of white classmates may have better job outcomes.

This study employs multilevel analyses of two national longitudinal surveys to reveal no effects of high school racial composition on occupational status, employment, or annual earnings for blacks or whites. For other minority groups, attending schools with more whites impedes occupational advancement.

For all groups, however, school racial composition predicts workplace racial composition: Whites who attend high schools with higher proportions of white students have higher proportions of white coworkers, while nonwhites who attend schools with higher proportions of whites have fewer same-race coworkers.

The findings are modest in size but robust to alternative specifications, and sensitivity analyses support a causal interpretation for same-race coworkers. These results support perpetuation theory for workplace composition but not for stratification outcomes.

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