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What drives racial segregation? New evidence using Census microdata

  • Bayer, Patrick
  • McMillan, Robert
  • Rueben, Kim S.

This paper sheds new light on the forces that drive residential segregation on the basis of race, assessing the extent to which across-race differences in other household characteristics can explain a significant portion of observed racial segregation. The central contribution of the analysis is to provide a transparent new measurement framework for understanding segregation patterns. This framework allows researchers to characterize patterns of segregation, to decompose them in meaningful ways, and to carry out partial equilibrium counterfactuals that illuminate the contributions of a variety of non-race characteristics in driving segregation. We illustrate our approach using restricted micro-Census data from the San Francisco Bay Area that provide a rich joint distribution of household and neighborhood characteristics not previously available to the research community. In contrast to findings in the prior literature, our analysis indicates that individual household characteristics can explain a considerable fraction of segregation by race, explaining almost 95% of segregation for Hispanic, over 50% for Asian, and 30% for White and Black households.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 56 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Pages: 514-535

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:56:y:2004:i:3:p:514-535
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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  1. John Yinger, 1978. "The Black-White Price Differential in Housing: Some Further Evidence," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(2), pages 187-206.
  2. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 1998. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," Working papers 98-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Patrick Bayer & Robert McMillan & Kim Rueben, 2005. "Residential Segregation in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 11095, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Cutler, David & Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Scholarly Articles 2770033, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "The Long-Run Consequences Of Living In A Poor Neighborhood," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1533-1575, November.
  6. Harsman Bjorn & Quigley John M., 1995. "The Spatial Segregation of Ethnic and Demographic Groups: Comparative Evidence from Stockholm and San Francisco," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-16, January.
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  8. Borjas, George J, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-50, February.
  9. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R. & Scafidi, Benjamin, 2002. "Black Self-Segregation as a Cause of Housing Segregation: Evidence from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 366-390, March.
  10. Chambers, Daniel N., 1992. "The racial housing price differential and racially transitional neighborhoods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 214-232, September.
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  12. Schafer, Robert, 1979. "Racial discrimination in the Boston housing market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 176-196, April.
  13. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
  14. George J. Borjas, 1997. "To Ghetto or Not to Ghetto: Ethnicity and Residential Segregation," NBER Working Papers 6176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Miller, Vincent P. & Quigley, John M., 1989. "Segregation by Racial and Demographic Group: Evidence from the San Francisco Bay Area," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt5p86d7vw, University of California Transportation Center.
  16. Patrick Bajari & Matthew E. Kahn, . "Why Do Blacks Live in The Cities and Whites Live in the Suburbs?," Working Papers 00007, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  17. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-91, October.
  18. King, A Thomas & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1973. "Racial Discrimination, Segregation, and the Price of Housing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 590-606, May-June.
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