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Quantifying the Effect of Neighbourhood on Individuals: Challenges, Alternative Approaches, and Promising Directions

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  • George C. Galster

Abstract

Six major challenges confront statistical researchers attempting to quantify accurately the independent effect of neighbourhood context on individuals: (1) defining the scale of neighbourhood; (2) identifying mechanisms of neighbourhood effect; (3) measuring appropriate neighbourhood characteristics; (4) measuring exposure to neighbourhood; (5) measuring appropriate individual characteristics; and (6) endogeneity. The paper describes these challenges, prior attempts to meet them, and their respective shortcomings. It notes several approaches on the horizon that offer the promise of surmounting these challenges: experiments with varied scales of bespoke neighbourhoods; databases with multi-domain measures of neighbourhood characteristics; statistical models testing for non-linear neighbourhood effects that are stratified by residential group, density of local social interactions, and duration of residency; and econometric devices involving instrumental variables and residuals. It argues that further progress can be made on this front if we take advantage of natural quasi-experiments and push toward fielding a major, new social survey employing a people/place panel design.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Duncker & Humblot, Berlin in its journal Schmollers Jahrbuch.

Volume (Year): 128 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 7-48

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Handle: RePEc:aeq:aeqsjb:v128_y2008_i1_q1_p7-48

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Cited by:
  1. Nieuwenhuis, Jaap & Hooimeijer, Pieter & van Ham, Maarten & Meeus, Wim, 2013. "Neighbourhood Effects on Migrant Youth's Educational Commitments: An Enquiry into Personality Differences," IZA Discussion Papers 7510, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. repec:ese:iserwp:2014-08 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Alexandra Nonnenmacher & Jürgen Friedrichs, 2013. "The Missing Link: Deficits of Country-Level Studies. A Review of 22 Articles Explaining Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 1221-1244, February.
  4. Gundi Knies & Alita Nandi & Lucinda Platt, 2014. "Life satisfaction, ethnicity and neighbourhoods: is there an effect of neighbourhood ethnic composition on life satisfaction?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 55669, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Nathalie Georges & Yannick L'Horty & Florent Sari, 2012. "Comment réduire la fracture spatiale ? Une application en Ile-de-France," TEPP Research Report 2012-07, TEPP.
  6. Hedman, Lina & Manley, David & van Ham, Maarten & Östh, John, 2012. "Cumulative Exposure to Disadvantage and the Intergenerational Transmission of Neighbourhood Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 6794, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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