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Have Anti-Discrimination Housing Laws Worked? Evidence from Trends in Black Homeownership


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  • Raphael Bostic


  • Richard Martin


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    This paper explores the hypothesis that anti-discrimination legislation has been an important factor in shaping the evolution of minority homeownership spatial trends. It does so by studying homeownership patterns of black and non-black households during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s using Census data and data that proxies for the level of enforcement of the Fair Housing Act over time. The results provide unambiguous support for the view that enforcement has been a key factor for black homeownership since the 1970s, as we find a consistent positive relationship between fair housing policy enforcement and black homeownership growth. In addition, we find clear evidence that black homeowners gained access to more diverse and higher-income neighborhoods over time, with the shift occurring beginning in the 1980s and continuing in the 1990s. Importantly, both of these results are race-specific results, as there are no such patterns among non-black homeowners. Taken together, the results are consistent with the view that the housing-related civil rights legislation passed during the 1960s and 1970s helped alter, and reduce, the role that race played in housing markets. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics.

    Volume (Year): 31 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1 (August)
    Pages: 5-26

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jrefec:v:31:y:2005:i:1:p:5-26

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    Keywords: discrimination; homeownership; homes; housing race;


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    1. Donohue, John J, III & Heckman, James, 1991. "Continuous versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1603-43, December.
    2. Griffith L. Garwood & Dolores S. Smith, 1993. "The Community Reinvestment Act: evolution and current issues," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Apr, pages 251-267.
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    Cited by:
    1. Stephen L. Ross, 2008. "Understanding Racial Segregation: What is known about the Effect of Housing Discrimination," Working papers 2008-15, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2008.


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