Using a representative longitudinal survey of U.S. teenagers, we investigate how peer racial composition in high school affects individual turnout of young adults. We exploit across-cohort, within-school differences in peer racial composition. One within-school standard deviation increase in the racial diversity index leads to a 2.2 percent increase in the probability of being registered to vote seven years later and to a 2.6 percent higher probability of voting six years later. These effects are likely due to positive interracial contact when socialization has long-lasting effects: higher racial diversity in school is linked to more interracial friendships in school and later on.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBonn
Number of pages58
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

SeriesIZA Discussion Paper Series

JEL classifications

  • d72 - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
  • i24 - Education and Inequality
  • j15 - "Economics of Minorities, Races, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination"


  • voting behavior
  • school-cohort racial diversity
  • peers


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