When Does Money Matter? School Funding and Inequality of Educational Achievement
Emily Rauscher

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Brown University

Primary Discipline

School funding decreased drastically following the 2008 recession, but we know little about how these cuts may affect K-12 achievement gaps. This study moves beyond the long-standing debate about whether funding matters to examine whether and in which contexts particular types of funding could reduce racial and ethnic achievement gaps. Drawing on data from the Stanford Education Data Archive, Census Finance Survey, Common Core of Data, and California Elections Data Archive, this study will create two district-level longitudinal data sets and apply two identification strategies. First, school district and year fixed effects will be used to estimate the relationship between changes in funding and achievement gaps within the same district from 2008 to 2013. Second, regression discontinuity analyses of 1995-2013 California school ballot measures will approach a causal estimate of the effects of school facilities funding on racial achievement gaps. The goal is to identify whether certain funding types or distribution mechanisms could reduce racial inequality of educational achievement.
About Emily Rauscher
Emily Rauscher is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brown University. Her research examines intergenerational inequality, with the goal of identifying policies that could increase equality of opportunity. In pursuit of this goal, she has examined the effects of early compulsory schooling laws on intergenerational mobility, equality of school attendance and educational attainment, and the occupational structure. To further understand the role of education in the reproduction of inequality, she examined the relationship between parental financial support for higher education and economic attainment. Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Demography, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, among others. Emily received her B.A. from Wesleyan University, an M.S. from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University.

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