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The Effects of School Racial Diversity on Political Identity

As videos of horrific police brutality and overt acts of racism spread across the country, many are considering how systematic racism impacts other parts of society, like schools. In The Long-Run Effects of School Racial Diversity on Political Identity, a recent research paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), researchers Stephen B. Billings, Eric Chyn, and Kareem Haggag examine the impact of school racial diversity on students’ party affiliations. Specifically, they examine students’ party affiliation after the end of race-based busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, which led to significant changes in school racial composition. 

They found that as the schools became more diverse, the students there were less likely to register as Republicans. They found this to be driven by white students and parents’ party affiliations. However, they found no effect of school diversity on the likelihood that students will register to vote. These results indicate that in an increasingly partisan world, schools play a key role in shaping young people’s political identities.

By Brooke LePage