Journal article

Disparities and discrimination in student discipline by race and family income

August 2021

Published in:

Journal of Human Resources, 56(3), 711-748

By: Nathan Barrett, Andrew McEachin, Jonathan Mills, Jon Valant


Black and poor students are suspended from US schools at higher rates than White and nonpoor students. While the existence of these disparities has been clear, the causes of the disparities have not. The authors use a novel data set to examine how and where discipline disparities arise. By comparing the punishments given to Black and White (or poor and nonpoor) students who fight one another, the authors address a selection challenge that has kept prior studies from identifying discrimination in student discipline. They find that Black and poor students are, in fact, punished more harshly than the students with whom they fight.

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Topics: Equity

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