Archives for African American



How Crack Cocaine Widened the Black-White Education Gap

A new working paper (abstract; PDF) from William N. Evans, Timothy J. Moore, and Craig Garthwaite presents one explanation for the decline in black high-school graduation rates beginning in the 1980s:

We propose the rise of crack cocaine markets as an explanation for the end to the convergence in black-white educational outcomes beginning in the mid-1980s. After constructing a measure to date the arrival of crack markets in cities and states, we show large increases in murder and incarceration rates after these dates. Black high school graduation rates also decline, and we estimate that crack markets accounts for between 40 and 73 percent of the fall in black male high school graduation rates. We argue that the primary mechanism is reduced educational investments in response to decreased returns to schooling.

How did crack cocaine depress schooling returns? “Crack markets had three primary impacts on young black males: an increased probability of being murdered, an increased risk of incarceration, and a potential source of income,” explain the authors. “Each limits the benefits of education.”  In other words, high school looks less attractive when you’re more likely to end up dead or in jail, or earn money.

This finding echoes a passage from Freakonomics: Read More »



Jacky Kaba Keeps Writing Interesting Papers on Race

I blogged a few years ago about Amadu Jacky Kaba under the headline “A Scholar to Keep Your Eye On”:

Amadu Jacky Kaba is a Liberian-born striver who first came to Seton Hall University as a basketball player and, several degrees later, has returned as an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology. Like our friend Roland Fryer, Kaba is a black scholar who studies a lot of racial issues with a perspective and a latitude that is unavailable to white scholars.

If indeed you had kept your eye on Kaba, you would have seen that he keeps writing lots (and lots) of interesting papers. Read More »



The History of “Bling”

An Atlanta Post article by  R. Asmerom traces the cultural and historical origins of “bling” in the African-American community  – all the way back to Africa. Read More »



Is U.C.L.A. Illegally Using Race-Based Affirmative Action in Admissions?

My friend and co-author Tim Groseclose, a professor of political science at U.C.L.A., thinks so. Groseclose was a member of U.C.L.A.’s Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations With Schools until yesterday, when he resigned from the committee in a very public way and released an 89-page report documenting what he calls “malfeasance” and an “accompanying […] Read More »



The Racial Tipping Point

A few years back, I got interested in taxicab tipping – and what influences how much people tip. So together with Fred Vars and Nasser Zakariya, I collected data on more than 1,000 cab rides in New Haven, CT and crunched the numbers. The study (published in The Yale Law Journal) found — after controlling […] Read More »