No Spending without Representation: School Boards and the Racial Gap in Education Finance
- American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (Forthcoming)
This paper provides causal evidence that greater minority representation on school
boards translates into greater investment in minority students. Focusing on California
school boards, I instrument for minority (specifically, Hispanic) representation using
random ballot ordering, and leverage new data from a statewide capital investment
program to capture intra-district resource allocations. I show that Hispanic board
members invest the marginal dollar in high-Hispanic schools within their districts.
High-Hispanic schools also exhibit gains in student achievement and decreased teacher
turnover. I conclude that enhancing minority representation on school boards could
help combat long-standing disparities in education.
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