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Inequality and Segregation

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  • Rajiv Sethi
  • Rohini Somanathan

Abstract

This paper explores the manner in which race and income interact to determine patterns of residential location in metropolitan areas. We use a framework in which individuals care about both the level of affluence and the racial composition of their communities, and in which there are differences in income both within and between groups. Three main findings emerge. First, conditional on income, black households experience lower neighborhood quality relative to whites at any stable equilibrium. Second, extreme levels of segregation can be stable when racial income disparities are either large or negligible, but unstable in some intermediate range. Third, there exist multiple stable equilibria with very different levels of segregation when racial income disparities are sufficiently small. These results hold even when preferences are pro-integrationist, in the sense that racially mixed neighborhoods within a certain range are strictly preferred by all households to homogenous neighborhoods of either type.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 112 (2004)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 1296-1321

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:112:y:2004:i:6:p:1296-1321

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  1. Shelly Lundberg & Richard Startz, 1998. "Race, Information, and Segregation," Working Papers 0047, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  2. Steven N. Durlauf, 1992. "A Theory of Persistent Income Inequality," NBER Working Papers 4056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. de Bartolome, Charles A M, 1990. "Equilibrium and Inefficiency in a Community Model with Peer Group Effects," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 110-33, February.
  4. Roland Benabou, 1993. "Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Benabou, Roland, 1993. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 619-52, August.
  6. Bond, Eric W. & Coulson, N. Edward, 1989. "Externalities, filtering, and neighborhood change," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 231-249, September.
  7. Rajiv Sethi & Rohini Somanathan, 2001. "Racial Income Disparities and the Measurement of Segregation," Urban/Regional 0107001, EconWPA.
  8. Kern, Clifford R., 1981. "Racial prejudice and residential segregation: The Yinger model revisited," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 164-172, September.
  9. Cutler, David M & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-72, August.
  10. Denton, N.A. & Massey, D.S., 1988. "Residential Segregation Of Blacks, Hispanics, And Asians By Socioeconomic Status And Generation," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-2, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  11. Cutler, David & Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Scholarly Articles 2770033, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-58, August.
  13. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
  14. Nancy A. Denton & Douglas S. Massey, . "Residential Segregation of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians by Socioeconomic Status and Generation," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 88-2, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  15. Epple, Dennis & Platt, Glenn J., 1998. "Equilibrium and Local Redistribution in an Urban Economy when Households Differ in both Preferences and Incomes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 23-51, January.
  16. Amitabh Chandra, 2003. "Is the Convergence of the Racial Wage Gap Illusory?," NBER Working Papers 9476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Yinger, John, 1976. "Racial prejudice and racial residential segregation in an urban model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 383-396, October.
  18. Glenn C. Loury, 1976. "A Dynamic Theory of Racial Income Differences," Discussion Papers 225, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  19. Fernandez, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1996. "Income Distribution, Communities, and the Quality of Public Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 135-64, February.
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