The Great Migration, Place Effects and Children's Education
Early Career Research Award
This project aims to study the effects of the Great Migration on the education of African American children by analyzing the outcomes of mover households in the 1940 Census. We will estimate place effects at county-level controlling for movers’ origin locations and a range of household characteristics related to educational attainment. Our approach is based on a strategy developed by Finkelstein et al. (2019) to adjust for unobservable differences between households that move to different areas. In preliminary analysis, we find evidence of substantial heterogeneity in place effects during the Great Migration. Moving from the 10th to the 90th percentile location would increase educational attainment by 1.35 years. Destinations for black families that have beneficial impacts on educational attainment are overwhelmingly located outside the South. In future work, we will explore mechanisms by studying correlations between estimated place effects and other characteristics such as local school quality, crime and social capital.