Income Gap Predicts Dropout Gap

“In a research paper to be published next week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Ms. Kearney and Mr. Levine detail robust evidence that young men of low socioeconomic status are more likely to drop out of high school, where the gap between families at the bottom tenth of the income distribution and families in the middle is wider.

They challenge their results in many ways, but find nothing that could explain away inequality’s effect. The dropout gap is not because of differences in school spending or differences in incarceration rates. Measures of segregation by income or race don’t account for the difference. Nor, interestingly, does the spectacular acceleration of inequality between the richest and the rest.”

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