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The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males

Stephen V. Cameron and James Heckman

Journal of Political Economy, 2001, vol. 109, issue 3, 455-499

Abstract: This paper estimates a dynamic model of schooling attainment to investigate the sources of racial and ethnic disparity in college attendance. Parental income in the child's adolescent years is a strong predictor of this disparity. This is widely interpreted to mean that credit constraints facing families during the college-going years are important. Using NLSY data, we find that it is the long-run factors associated with parental background and family environment, and not credit constraints facing prospective students in the college-going years, that account for most of the racial-ethnic college-going differential. Policies aimed at improving these long-term family and environmental factors are more likely to be successful in eliminating college attendance differentials than short-term tuition reduction and family income supplement policies aimed at families with college age children.

Date: 2001
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