The Effects of Social Diversity at School: Evidence from a Desegregation Program
Speaker(s)Julien Grenet (Paris School of Economics, France)
LocationTinbergen Institute Amsterdam, room 1.01
Date and time
November 28, 2023
15:30 - 16:30
This paper investigates whether social desegregation in schools fosters social cohesion and reduces social inequality in educational outcomes. We exploit an initiative launched in 2015 by the French Ministry of Education to desegregate public middle schools and compare the schools that participated in the program with similar schools that were not involved. Our findings indicate that in the initially more segregated schools, the program was successful at increasing the exposure of low-SES to high-SES students, and vice versa. Using detailed administrative data along with survey data on students' wellbeing and attitudes, we find that school desegregation improves the academic performance and academic self-esteem of high-SES students. Although our results do not show significant effects on the academic performance of low-SES students, we find that these students derive social and psychological benefits from being exposed to a more diverse student body.
Joint work with Ghazala Azmat (Sciences Po), Élise Huillery (Université Paris Dauphine), Youssef Souidi (Université Paris Dauphine), and Yann Algan (HEC).