Childhood Educational Disruption and Later Life Outcomes

Evidence from Prince Edward County

by Paul Heaton

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Beginning in 1959 the public schools in Prince Edward County, Virginia were closed for five years in opposition to court-ordered integration. The author combines data from numerous administrative sources to examine the effects of the school closings on the educational attainment and economic outcomes of affected Black children. Although exposed students obtained an average of one fewer year of schooling than peers in surrounding counties, they do not exhibit substantially worse material, health, and incarceration outcomes. These findings may result from 1) the provision of substitute educational opportunities for many students and 2) flat returns at levels of educational attainment typical for southern Virginia Blacks during this period.

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