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Immigrant Enclaves And Crime

  • Brian Bell
  • Stephen Machin

There is conflicting evidence on the consequences of immigrant neighbourhood segregation for individual outcomes, with various studies finding positive, negative or insubstantial effects. In this paper, we document the evolution of immigrant segregation in England over the last 40 years. We show that standard measures of segregation point to gentle declines over time for all immigrant groups. However, this hides a significant increase in the number of immigrant enclaves where immigrants account for a substantial fraction of the local population. We then explore the link between immigrant segregation, enclaves and crime using both recorded crime and self-reported crime victimization data. Controlling for a rich set of observables, we find that crime is substantially lower in those neighbourhoods with sizeable immigrant population shares. The effect is non-linear and only becomes significant in enclaves. It is present for both natives and immigrants living in such neighbourhoods. Considering different crime types, the evidence suggests that such neighbourhoods benefit from a reduction in more minor, non-violent crimes. We discuss possible mechanisms for the results we observe.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Regional Science.

Volume (Year): 53 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 118-141

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jregsc:v:53:y:2013:i:1:p:118-141
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  1. Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2008. "When Are Ghettos Bad? Lessons from Immigrant Segregation In the United States," Scholarly Articles 2666726, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1997. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," NBER Working Papers 5881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Edin, P.-A. & Fredriksson, P. & Aslund, O., 2000. "Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Papers 2000:21, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  4. Brian Bell & Stephen Machin & Francesco Fasani, 2010. "Crime and immigration: evidence from large immigrant waves," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28732, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2008. "Is the Melting Pot Still Hot? Explaining the Resurgence of Immigrant Segregation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 478-497, August.
  6. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, July.
  7. Damm, Anna Piil, 2006. "Ethnic Enclaves and Immigrant Labour Market Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 06-4, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  8. Anne C. Case & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects of Family and Neighborhood on Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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