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Redlining in Boston: Do Mortgage Lenders Discriminate Against Neighborhoods?

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  • Geoffrey M. B. Tootell

Abstract

Historically, lenders have been accused of "redlining" minority neighborhoods as well as refusing to lend to minority applicants. Considerable bank regulation is designed to prevent both actions. However, the strong correlation between race and neighborhood makes it difficult to distinguish the impact of geographic discrimination from the effects of racial discrimination. Previous studies have failed to untangle these two influences, in part, because of severe omitted variable bias. The data set in this paper allows the distinct effects of race and geography to be identified, and it shows that the evidence for redlining is weak.

Suggested Citation

  • Geoffrey M. B. Tootell, 1996. "Redlining in Boston: Do Mortgage Lenders Discriminate Against Neighborhoods?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1049-1079.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:4:p:1049-1079.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2307/2946707
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    Cited by:

    1. James Kau & Donald Keenan & Henry Munneke, 2012. "Racial Discrimination and Mortgage Lending," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 289-304, August.
    2. Ross, Stephen L. & Tootell, Geoffrey M. B., 2004. "Redlining, the Community Reinvestment Act, and private mortgage insurance," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 278-297, March.
    3. Laurent Gobillon & Harris Selod & Yves Zenou, 2007. "The Mechanisms of Spatial Mismatch," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 44(12), pages 2401-2427, November.
    4. Patrick Honohan, 2004. "Financial Sector Policy and the Poor : Selected Findings and Issues," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14874, August.
    5. Lin, Emily Y., 2001. "Information, Neighborhood Characteristics, and Home Mortgage Lending," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 337-355, March.
    6. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Marianna Kudlyak & John Mondragon & Olivier Coibion, 2014. "Does Greater Inequality Lead to More Household Borrowing? New Evidence from Household Data," 2014 Meeting Papers 402, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Ethan Cohen-Cole, 2008. "Credit card redlining," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU08-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    8. Gathergood John, 2011. "Racial Disparities in Credit Constraints in the Great Recession: Evidence from the UK," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-32, September.
    9. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Stephen L. Ross, 2014. "Race, Ethnicity and High Cost Mortgage Lending," Working papers 2014-36, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    10. Blackburn, McKinley & Vermilyea, Todd, 2007. "The role of information externalities and scale economies in home mortgage lending decisions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 71-85, January.
    11. Harrison, David M., 2001. "The Importance of Lender Heterogeneity in Mortgage Lending," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 285-309, March.
    12. Laurent Gobillon & Harris Selod & Yves Zenou, 2002. "Spatial Mismatch : From the Hypothesis of the Theories," Working Papers 2002-57, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    13. Dawkins, Casey J., 2005. "Racial gaps in the transition to first-time homeownership: The role of residential location," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 537-554, November.
    14. Dietz, Robert D. & Haurin, Donald R., 2003. "The social and private micro-level consequences of homeownership," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 401-450, November.
    15. Wendy Edelberg, 2007. "Racial dispersion in consumer credit interest rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    16. James E. Prieger, 2003. "The Supply Side of the Digital Divide: Is There Equal Availability in the Broadband Internet Access Market?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(2), pages 346-363, April.
    17. Chan, Sewin & Haughwout, Andrew & Tracy, Joseph, 2015. "How Mortgage Finance Affects the Urban Landscape," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    18. Albareto, G. & Mistrulli, P.E., 2010. "Bridging the gap between migrants and the banking system," MPRA Paper 26476, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Angela Chang & Shubham Chaudhuri & Jith Jayaratne, 1997. "Rational herding and the spatial clustering of bank branches: an empirical analysis," Research Paper 9724, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    20. Bhattacharya, Utpal & Groznik, Peter, 2008. "Melting pot or salad bowl: Some evidence from U.S. investments abroad," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 228-258, August.
    21. Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen & Jyri Liukko, 2011. "The Forms and Limits of Insurance Solidarity," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 103(1), pages 33-44, April.
    22. Solomon Y. Deku & Alper Kara & Phil Molyneux, 2014. "Access to Consumer Credit in the UK," Working Papers 14004, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
    23. Devin G. Pope & Justin R. Sydnor, 2011. "What’s in a Picture?: Evidence of Discrimination from Prosper.com," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(1), pages 53-92.
    24. Deng, Yongheng & Ross, Stephen L. & Wachter, Susan M., 2003. "Racial differences in homeownership: the effect of residential location," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 517-556, September.
    25. Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl & Peter Grajzl & A. Joseph Guse & Richard M. Todd & Michael Williams, 2015. "Neighborhood Racial Characteristics, Credit History, and Bankcard Credit in Indian Country," CESifo Working Paper Series 5594, CESifo Group Munich.

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