On understanding inconsistent disciplinary behaviour in schools


Anton Bekkerman, Gregory Gilpin


Applied Economics Letters


Inconsistent disciplinary administration across schools can inequitably impact students’ education access opportunities by separating certain students from familiar learning environments, especially in misconduct cases that result in longer-term removal. We empirically estimate whether such inconsistencies are attributable to heterogeneity in student body demographic characteristics. The results indicate that a greater number of disciplines that remove students from school for an extended period of time are observed in schools with a higher proportion of black students, but no significant differential punishment effects are observed in schools with a higher Hispanic student population. Furthermore, results of decomposing the marginal effects into conditional and unconditional elasticities indicate that it is not the case that schools with predominantly white student bodies have the least severe punishments and schools with more minority students have the most severe punishments. Rather, schools with inconsistent disciplinary behaviour have a proportion of the inconsistency attributable to the race of the student body.



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