The Effect of School Quality on Black-White Health Differences: Evidence From Segregated Southern Schools

David Frisvold, Ezra Golberstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This study assesses the effect of black-white differences in school quality on black-white differences in health in later life resulting from the racial convergence in school quality for cohorts born between 1910 and 1950 in southern states with segregated schools. Using data from the 1984-2007 National Health Interview Surveys linked to race-specific data on school quality, we find that reductions in the black-white gap in school quality led to modest reductions in the black-white gap in disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1989-2012
Number of pages24
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded, in part, by the National Institute of Mental Health (T32 postdoctoral traineeship), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Emory University Woodruff Funds, and the Emory Global Health Institute. We thank Al Headen, Ellen Meara, Frank Sloan, Jim Walker, and Ty Wilde; seminar participants at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the University of Wisconsin; and participants at the American Society of Health Economists biennial conference, the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management annual conference, the Census Restricted Data Center conference, and the Southeastern Health Economics Study Group for helpful comments. We thank David Card for sharing school quality data, Ken Chay for sharing hospital desegregation data, and Bhash Mazumder for sharing data about the Rosenwald schools. We are especially grateful to Patricia Barnes, Stephanie Robinson, and Deborah Rose at the National Center for Health Statistics for their assistance with the restricted-access National Health Interview Survey data. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Research Data Center, the National Center for Health Statistics, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


  • Education
  • Health disparities
  • Health status
  • School quality


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