The White/Black Educational Gap, Stalled Progress, and the Long-Term Consequences of the Emergence of Crack Cocaine Markets
July 28, 2014 10:00 AM
Historically, there have been persistent differences between the high school completion rates and standardized test scores of white and black students. These differences narrowed between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s as the educational outcomes of black students improved dramatically. Then, for reasons that previous researchers have been unable to explain, this progress stopped. In this week's featured paper The White/Black Educational Gap, Stalled Progress, and the Long-Term Consequences of the Emergence of Crack Cocaine Markets, authors Williamn N. Evans, Craig Garthwaite, and Timothy J. Moore propose the rise of crack cocaine markets as an explanation for the end to the convergence in black-white educational outcomes that began in the mid-1980s.
After constructing a measure to date the arrival of crack markets in cities and states, the authors show large increases in murder and incarceration rates after these dates. Black high school completion rates also decline, and they estimate that factors associated with crack markets can account for between 36 and 73 percent of the fall in black male high school completion rates. The authors argue that the primary mechanism is reduced educational investments in response to decreased returns to schooling.
This paper was originally presented at the 2013 Fall Research Conference. Download the complete paper from APPAM's Online Paper Collection.