École normale supérieure – PSL

Segregation and Inequalities

S2 – (mise à jour juin 2024)

Nina Guyon

Emploi du temps

Planning de l’année

Who wins and who loses from desegregation policies and why?

Aim of the course

The course will be taught in English

The aim of this course is to understand the links between social segregation -be it residential or school segregation- and social inequalities. Does where you live really matter? Would a poor kid succeed better at school and later on in the labour market if she were to live in a better neighbourhood, and why? In other words: does social segregation create inequality of opportunity, and how?

To answer this question, this course will study the most recent research papers analysing the causal consequences of social and racial (de)segregation on adults and children’s outcomes, including wages, academic achievement, mental health, criminal behaviour, political preferences, and social behaviour. Several types of desegregation policies will be studied, from urban policies targeting public housing to school policies, such as quotas or busing. Students will be invited to discuss the underlying mechanisms explaining the effects found, as well as the causality of these effects. To this aim, several key impact evaluation methods will be introduced, such as RCT, RDD, IV, and DiD.

Presumed program

  1. Introduction: does where you live matter and why?
  2. Urban policies of desegregation: housing vouchers for public housing households and public housing demolitions
  3. Comparison of housing vouchers and public housing demolitions effects
  4. Desegregation at school: effects on socially disadvantaged and socially advantaged children
  5. Intervention an urban policymaker and discussion
  6. Desegregation at school: Black Migration, White flight, rich flight
  7. Mechanisms driving school desegregation effects
  8. Desegregation, political preferences, and social behaviour
  9. Segregation and discrimination on the labour market


The criteria used to assess whether the student passes are: 1. Attendance and in-class participation; and 2. A report criticizing the internal and external validity of a research paper.  


No prerequisites required. No technical skills are required to fully benefit from this course, but students from economics will be able to dig deeper since the course will be based on top-level research papers.

Open to all students, including L3 and master students.

L’inscription à ce cours est obligatoire en écrivant à economie@ens.psl.eu