The public returns to public educational investments in African-American males

Henry M. Levin, Clive Belfield, Peter Muennig, Cecilia Rouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


This paper calculates the public savings (financial benefits) from greater public investments in the education of African-American males. Over one-fifth of each age cohort of black males in US is not a high school graduate. We identify five interventions that would-based on credible research-increase the graduation rate; we also report the public cost of each intervention. We then calculate the lifetime public benefits in terms of increased tax revenues and lower spending on health and crime. In present values, for a black male aged 20, these public benefits amount to $256,700 per new graduate and the median intervention would cost only $90,700. The benefit/cost ratio is 2.83. Simply equating the high school graduation rate of black males with that of white males would yield public savings of $3.98 billion for each age cohort. These results suggest that increased investments in education for black males at risk of dropping out of high school should be an economic priority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-708
Number of pages10
JournalEconomics of Education Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Costs
  • Rate of return
  • Resource allocation


Dive into the research topics of 'The public returns to public educational investments in African-American males'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this