Panel Paper: The Effects of Localized Mass Layoffs on Racial Academic Achievement Gaps

Friday, November 9, 2018
8216 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Dania Francis1, Elizabeth Ananat2, Anna Gassman-Pines2 and Christina Gibson-Davis2, (1)University of Massachusetts, Amherst, (2)Duke University

We examine effects of localized mass layoffs on black and Hispanic youth relative to white youth using job loss data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and test score data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress for the years 1996-2011. We find that job losses to 1% of the working-age population decrease eighth-grade math scores by .084 and .072 standard deviations for black and Hispanic students respectively. White students’ test scores decrease by 0.041 standard deviations, though the estimate is not significantly different from no effect at all. Our results suggest that the disparate effects of economic downturns can explain about 7% of the SES-adjusted black-white math achievement gap among 8th graders.