The Wrong Side(s) of the Tracks: The Causal Effects of Racial Segregation on Urban Poverty and Inequality
A striking negative correlation exists between an area's residential racial segregation and its population characteristics, but it is recognized that this relationship may not be causal. I present a novel test of causality from segregation to population characteristics by exploiting the arrangements of railroad tracks in the nineteenth century to isolate plausibly exogenous variation in areas' susceptibility to segregation. I show that this variation satisfies the requirements for a valid instrument. Instrumental variables estimates demonstrate that segregation increases metropolitan rates of black poverty and overall black-white income disparities, while decreasing rates of white poverty and inequality within the white population. (JEL I32, J15, N31, N32, N91, N92, R23)
Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
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