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Neighbourhood Social Mix as a Goal of Housing Policy: A Theoretical Analysis

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  • George Galster

Abstract

Many western European housing policies have tried to increase the residential mix of advantaged and disadvantaged groups. Unfortunately, policymakers have given little consideration to how these groups will interact as neighbours. There are numerous theoretically grounded mechanisms by which the social mix of a neighbourhood may influence socio-economic outcomes of its residents. These mechanisms differ on the basis of which group is generating the social externality in the neighbourhood, whether this externality is positive or negative, whether it affects all residents equally, and whether the marginal externality generated by adding one more member of a particular group is constant, proportional, or is characterized by a threshold effect. This paper demonstrates that a social mix housing policy can be justified only under a circumscribed set of the preceding parameters. Indeed, depending on the mechanism assumed, social efficiency implies that neighbourhoods should be either: equally mixed, have the disadvantaged group dispersed as widely as possible, or rigidly segregated; for other mechanisms, mix becomes irrelevant. Thus, for formulating and justifying a mixed housing policy on either efficiency or equity grounds it is crucial to understand exactly what sort of neighbourhood effect(s) is operating in neighbourhoods.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor and Francis Journals in its journal European Journal of Housing Policy.

Volume (Year): 7 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 19-43

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Handle: RePEc:taf:eurjhp:v:7:y:2007:i:1:p:19-43

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Related research

Keywords: Neighbourhood effects; social mix; social exclusion; European housing policy; externalities;

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Cited by:
  1. van Ham, Maarten & Manley, David, 2009. "The Effect of Neighbourhood Housing Tenure Mix on Labour Market Outcomes: A Longitudinal Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 4094, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. William Clark, 2008. "Reexamining the moving to opportunity study and its contribution to changing the distribution of poverty and ethnic concentration," Demography, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 515-535, August.
  3. David Manley & Maarten van Ham, 2011. "Living in deprived neighbourhoods in Scotland. Occupational mobility and neighbourhood effects," ERSA conference papers ersa10p547, European Regional Science Association.
  4. Lind, Hans & Annadotter, Kerstin & Björk, Folke & Högberg, Lovisa & af Klintberg, Tord, 2014. "Sustainable renovation strategy in the Swedish Million Homes Programme: A case study," Working Paper Series 14/2, Department of Real Estate and Construction Management & Centre for Banking and Finance (cefin), Royal Institute of Technology.
  5. Kevin Brown, 2010. "The Economics and Ethics of Mixed Communities: Exploring the Philosophy of Integration Through the Lens of the Subprime Financial Crisis in the US," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 97(1), pages 35-50, November.
  6. Garey C. Durden & Patricia E. Gaynor, 2014. "Publishing in The Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy and an Evaluation (via Citation Counts) of JRAP’s Influence on Scholarship in Regional Science," Working Papers 14-07, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.

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