The Sources and Consequences of Racial Misattribution in Schools: Evidence from a Brazilian Survey (by Carlos Alberto Doria and Guilherme Lichand)
Race categorization is notoriously difficult -- individuals change their racial attribution over time, attribution responds to the external environment, and other and self-reports often do not coincide. This issue is presumably even more consequential in schools, not only because children seldom report their own race, but also because school staff is often not representative of the local population. Potential racial misattribution is also consequential: race is a key marker of educational inequalities used to inform educational policies, including resource allocation. Using novel data from Equidade.info, a representative survey of Brazilian primary and secondary schools, this paper (1) estimates the extent and features of racial misattribution within Brazilian education; (2) documents that school-level attribution is not stable, but rather depends on characteristics of school principals; and (3) simulates counterfactual racial inequality indicators for secondary attainment and standardized test scores in the presence or absence of racial misattribution.