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Are Ghettos Good or Bad?

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  • David M. Cutler
  • Edward L. Glaeser

Abstract

Theory suggests that spatial separation of racial and ethnic groups can have both positive and negative effects on the economic performance of minorities. Racial segregation may be damaging because it curtails informational connections with the larger community or because concentrations of poverty deter human capital accumulation and encourage crime. Alternatively racial segregation might ensure that minorities have middle-class role models and thus promote good outcomes. We examine the effects of segregation on African-American outcomes in schooling, employment and single parenthood and find that African-Americans in more segregated areas do significantly worse, particularly if they live in central cities. We control for the endogeneity of location choice using instruments based on political factors, topographical features of cities, and residence before adulthood. Some, but never more than 40% of this effect, stems from lack of role models and large commuting times.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5163.

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Date of creation: Jun 1995
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Publication status: published as Cutler, David M. and Edward L. Glaeser. "Are Ghettos Good Or Bad?," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1997, v112(3,Aug), 827-872.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5163

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  1. Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Katherine M. O'Regan & John M. Quigley, 1997. "Teenage Employment and the Spatial Isolation of Minority and Poverty Households," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm35, Yale School of Management.
  3. Case, A.C. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects Of Family And Neighborhood On Disadvantaged Younths," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1555, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Cutler, David M & Elmendorf, Douglas W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1993. "Demographic Characteristics and the Public Bundle," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 48(Supplemen), pages 178-98.
  5. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Does Competition Among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," NBER Working Papers 4979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Edward L. Glaeser & David C. Mare, 1994. "Cities and Skills," NBER Working Papers 4728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. repec:fth:stanho:e-94-11 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Chiswick, Barry R., 1991. "Jewish immigrant skill and occupational attainment at the turn of the century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 64-86, January.
  9. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-90, June.
  10. 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.
  11. repec:fth:stanho:e-95-2 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R & Sjoquist, David L, 1990. "Job Accessibility and Racial Differences in Youth Employment Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 267-76, March.
  13. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Culture and Language," NBER Working Papers 5249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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