School segregation and racial gaps in special education identification

Todd E. Elder, David N. Figlio, Scott A. Imberman, Claudia L. Persico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We use linked birth and education records from Florida to investigate how the identification of childhood disabilities varies by race and school racial composition. Using a series of decompositions, we find that black and Hispanic students are identified with disabilities at lower rates than are observationally similar white students. Black and Hispanic students are overidentified in schools with relatively small shares of minorities and substantially underidentified in schools with large minority shares. Our results are consistent with a heightened awareness among school officials of disabilities in students who are racially and ethnically distinct from the majority race in the school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S151-S197
JournalJournal of Labor Economics
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Economics and Econometrics


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