École normale supérieure – PSL

Ségrégation et inégalités

Le cours est maintenu

S2 – PSL Week, (mise à jour janv 2023)


Nina Guyon

Segregation and Inequalities
Who wins and who loses from desegregation policies and why?

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, the intuition of several key impact evaluation methods will be introduced. This will be done using a very active approach in which students will be driving the class, for instance thanks to case studies and brainstorming sessions. The student-centred paper-based approach of the course will allow students to experience scientific reasoning by themselves and to improve their critical thinking skills. At the end of the course, students will understand some key drivers of inequality of opportunity in OECD countries and be able to differentiate a causal impact from a simple correlation.

From March 6th to March 10th
Day 1: 5h (9h-11h30, 14h-16h30)
1. Introduction and brainstorming: does where you live matter and why?
2. Urban policies of desegregation: housing vouchers for public housing households and public
housing demolitions
3. Randomized Control Trial method
4. Brainstorming: comparison of housing vouchers and public housing demolitions effects
Day 2: 6h (9h-12h, 14h-17h)
1. Difference in differences method and corresponding case study
2. Desegregation at school: effects on socially disadvantaged children3. Desegregation at school: effects on socially advantaged children
Day 3: 3h (9h-12h)
1. Intervention from Lara Tobin, Director of the urban project “ORCOD-IN Grigny 2”:
2. Discussion
Day 4: 5h (9h-11h30, 14h-16h30)
1. Desegregation at school: Black Migration, White flight, rich flight
2. Mechanisms: school desegregation and violence
3. Other mechanisms driving school desegregation effects: brainstorming
Day 5: 5h (9h-11h30, 14h-16h30)
1. Desegregation, political preferences and social behaviour
2. Assessment (case study) and post-test discussion
3. Segregation and discrimination on the labour market

This course delivers a pass/fail status, not a grade. The criteria used to assess whether the student passes are: 1. Attendance and in-class participation; and 2. Test in the form of a case study on the last day.

No prerequisites required. The course will be based on research papers, but only the intuition of impact evaluation methods will be introduced, so no technical skills are required to fully benefit from this course. However, students with some knowledge in statistics and who know what a regression is will be able to go a step further by reading the papers in details. Open to all students, including L3 and master students.