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Innovative measurement of spatial segregation: Comparative evidence from Hong Kong and San Francisco


  • Monkkonen, Paavo
  • Zhang, Xiaohu


The spatial distribution of households of different socioeconomic groups in urban areas has drawn longstanding attention from scholars because residential location patterns have important impacts on social outcomes and the economic efficiency of cities. Recent comparative work on this topic has yielded some insight into the causes and consequences of segregation patterns, but much of this comparison is indirect. An explicitly spatial version of the entropy index has recently been developed that facilitates comparison, as it allows for the disaggregation of segregation levels by scale and income (Reardon and O'Sullivan, 2004; Reardon, 2009; Reardon and Bischoff, 2011). This paper applies these new measurement techniques to two metropolises; Hong Kong and San Francisco. Although overall segregation levels are similar, the shape of the segregation profile across geographic scales and the income distribution is quite different. The paper also includes a script for calculating spatial ordinal segregation indices in ArcGIS.

Suggested Citation

  • Monkkonen, Paavo & Zhang, Xiaohu, 2014. "Innovative measurement of spatial segregation: Comparative evidence from Hong Kong and San Francisco," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 99-111.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:47:y:2014:i:c:p:99-111
    DOI: 10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2013.09.016

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rolf Pendall & John I. Carruthers, 2003. "Does density exacerbate income segregation? Evidence from U.S. metropolitan areas, 1980 to 2000," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 541-589, January.
    2. Kremer, M & Maskin, E, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Segregation by Skill," Working papers 96-23, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Jakubs, John F., 1981. "A distance-based segregation index," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 129-136.
    5. Davidoff, Thomas, 2005. "Income sorting: Measurement and decomposition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 289-303, September.
    6. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    7. Galster, George & Andersson, Roger & Musterd, Sako & Kauppinen, Timo M., 2008. "Does neighborhood income mix affect earnings of adults? New evidence from Sweden," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 858-870, May.
    8. Peter Mieszkowski & Edwin S. Mills, 1993. "The Causes of Metropolitan Suburbanization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 135-147, Summer.
    9. Mee Kam Ng, 2002. "Property-led urban renewal in Hong Kong: any place for the community?," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(3), pages 140-146.
    10. Monkkonen, Paavo & Wong, Kelvin & Begley, Jaclene, 2012. "Economic restructuring, urban growth, and short-term trading: The spatial dynamics of the Hong Kong housing market, 1992–2008," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 396-406.
    11. Sui, Daniel Z., 1995. "Spatial economic impacts of new town development in Hong Kong: A GIS-based shift-share analysis," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 227-243, September.
    12. Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2006. "Income segregation from local income taxation when households differ in both preferences and incomes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 270-299, March.
    13. Paavo Monkkonen, 2012. "Housing Finance Reform and Increasing Socioeconomic Segregation in Mexico," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(4), pages 757-772, July.
    14. Hon-Kwong Lui, 2011. "The Widening Income Dispersion in Hong Kong: 1986-2006," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 20(2), pages 6-22, June.
    15. Sean Reardon & Stephen Matthews & David O’Sullivan & Barrett Lee & Glenn Firebaugh & Chad Farrell & Kendra Bischoff, 2008. "The geographic scale of Metropolitan racial segregation," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 45(3), pages 489-514, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher S. Fowler & Barrett A. Lee & Stephen A. Matthews, 2016. "The Contributions of Places to Metropolitan Ethnoracial Diversity and Segregation: Decomposing Change Across Space and Time," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(6), pages 1955-1977, December.
    2. Zwiers, Merle & van Ham, Maarten & Manley, David, 2016. "Trajectories of Neighborhood Change: Spatial Patterns of Increasing Ethnic Diversity," IZA Discussion Papers 10216, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Miquel-Àngel Garcia-López & Ana I. Moreno-Monroy, 2018. "Income segregation in monocentric and polycentric cities: does urban form really matter?," Working Papers 2018/17, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    4. repec:spr:soinre:v:138:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-017-1658-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:regeco:v:71:y:2018:i:c:p:62-79 is not listed on IDEAS


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