Compulsory schooling laws instituted in the late 1800s and early 1900s caused more people in Northern states to marry people at their same education level and race, possibly contributing to economic inequality, according to a University of Kansas researcher’s study.
Emily Rauscher, assistant professor of sociology, found no increase in assortative mating in Southern states as a result of the laws, suggesting the influence of educational expansion on marital sorting depends on context.
“It’s difficult to know why the compulsory laws had different effects in the North and the South. I can only speculate, but perhaps schools were becoming more strongly segregated with the Great Migration in the 1800s,” she said.
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