Does Locked Up Mean Locked Out? The Effects of the Anti-Drug Act of 1986 on Black Male Students’ College Enrollment

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Abstract

This paper explores one reason for the educational gaps experienced by Black men. Using variation in state marijuana possession and distribution laws, this paper examines whether the Anti-Drug Act of 1986, which increased the disproportionate incarceration of Black males, also led to differences in college enrollment rates. The results suggest that Black males had a 2.2% point decrease in the relative probability of college enrollment after the passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. There is some evidence that laws around crack cocaine, and not marijuana, led to this decrease in the probability of enrollment.

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