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SCHOOL DISCIPLINE: A SOURCE OR SALVE FOR THE RACIAL ACHIEVEMENT GAP?

Authors

  • Josh Kinsler

    1. University of Rochester, U.S.A.
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    • I would like to thank Peter Arcidiacono, Pat Bayer, Greg Caetano, Ronni Pavan, Jacob Vigdor, and workshop participants at the University of Wisconsin, University of California, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, and Clemson University for their helpful comments. All remaining errors are my own. Please address correspondence to: Josh Kinsler, Department of Economics, University of Rochester, 226 Harkness Hall, Rochester, NY 14627. Phone: 585-275-7307; Fax: 585-256-2309. E-mail: joshua.kinsler@rochester.edu.


  • Manuscript received February 2011; revised October 2011.

Abstract

Racial disparities in school discipline are believed to contribute to the persistent achievement gap between black and white students. In this article, I estimate the relationship between school discipline and achievement within a structural model, taking into account the spillover effects of disruptive behavior. I find that discipline has an overall positive influence on student performance and that the racial gap in discipline stemming from cross-school variation in discipline policies is consistent with achievement maximization. Integrating schools can close both the discipline and achievement gaps; however, overall achievement is reduced since schools are less able to target their discipline policies.

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