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11/18/2004

Education and Race

Richard Rothstein in the newest New York Review of Books skirts around an important question concerning racial disparities in educational achievement: why do conservatives like the Thernstroms blame Black culture when there are obviously different incentives for Black and white educational success? In every other performance related field people like the Thernstroms push to eliminate distorted incentives, from environmental regulations to income taxes. Yet in education, where Black Americans, by virtue of employment and wage discrimination, receive significantly smaller rewards for achievement than their white peers, these conservatives blame culture. Yglesias recommends "bribing" kids for their performance, which could potentially reduce the incentive gap.

I'd like to see the same conservatives damn corporate culture for pollution and materialism for the income effect.

On a related note, an incredibly important longitudinal study on the impact of preschool investment released its latest installment, finding that "taxpayers gained about $17 for every tax dollar invested in the Perry program. The gains came mainly through lower spending for criminal justice proceedings and increased tax collection from the higher earnings of Perry alumni."

 

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