Vikram Maheshri (University of Houston)
"Explaining Recent Trends in US School Segregation: 1988-2014"
We analyze trends in public school segregation throughout the United States from 1988 to 2014. While predominantly minority schools have increased in prevalence, predominantly white schools have decreased in prevalence at a faster rate. Overall, the majority of commuting zones in the US have experienced decreasing levels of school segregation largely fueled by demographic change due to Hispanic immigration: 90% of the observed desegregation of White schools and 59% of the observed re-segregation of minority schools can be attributed to the immediate effects of demographic shocks. Recently, the gradual discriminatory process of segregation has been dwarfed by systematic inflows of minorities throughout the country, but this demographic effect has been dampened by general equilibrium responses within local schooling markets. Absent demographic change (e.g., under immigration restrictions), school segregation would increase substantially in most regions in the long-run.