Francisco Martinez-Mora (University of Leicester and Universitat Rovira i Virgili), “The desegregating effects of school tracking”, Public Economics Workshop, Toulouse: TSE, February 24, 2012, 11:00–12:30, room MS 003.
This paper suggests the simple point that “detracking” schools might lead to an increase in income segregation. It studies a model where households care about the school peer group of their children. If ability and income are positively correlated, tracking implies that some high income households face the choice of living in the areas where most of the other high income households live and having their child assigned to the low track, or living in lower income neighbourhoods where their child would be in the high track. Our results may contribute explain the puzzlingly low level of income segregation observed empirically in some papers. The paper gives general conditions and provides plausible examples of desegregation happening as a consequence of tracking by schools.