IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/qjecon/v125y2010i1p417-443..html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Was Postwar Suburbanization "White Flight"? Evidence from the Black Migration

Author

Listed:
  • Leah Platt Boustan

Abstract

Residential segregation by jurisdiction generates disparities in public services and education. The distinctive American pattern—in which blacks live in cities and whites in suburbs—was enhanced by a large black migration from the rural South. I show that whites responded to this black influx by leaving cities and rule out an indirect effect on housing prices as a sole cause. I instrument for changes in black population by using local economic conditions to predict black migration from southern states and assigning predicted flows to northern cities according to established settlement patterns. The best causal estimates imply that each black arrival led to 2.7 white departures.

Suggested Citation

  • Leah Platt Boustan, 2010. "Was Postwar Suburbanization "White Flight"? Evidence from the Black Migration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 125(1), pages 417-443.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:125:y:2010:i:1:p:417-443.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/qjec.2010.125.1.417
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ethan Lewis, 2005. "Immigration, Skill Mix, and the Choice of Technique," Working Papers 05-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Austin, D. Andrew, 1999. "Politics vs Economics: Evidence from Municipal Annexation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 501-532, May.
    3. Whatley, Warren C., 1983. "Labor for the Picking: the New Deal in the South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(4), pages 905-929, December.
    4. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
    5. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
    6. Mills, Edwin S., 1992. "The measurement and determinants of suburbanization," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 377-387, November.
    7. Baumol, William J, 1972. "Macroeconomics of Unbalanced Growth: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 150-150, March.
    8. Leah Platt Boustan, 2007. "Escape from the City? The Role of Race, Income, and Local Public Goods in Post-War Suburbanization," NBER Working Papers 13311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. repec:hrv:faseco:4553034 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & Caroline Hoxby, 2004. "Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 348-396, April.
    11. Gabriel, Stuart A. & Shack-Marquez, Janice & Wascher, William L., 1992. "Regional house-price dispersion and interregional migration," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 235-256, September.
    12. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2005. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 345-375, April.
    13. Bayer, Patrick & McMillan, Robert & Rueben, Kim, 2004. "Residential Segregation in General Equilibrium," Center Discussion Papers 28517, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
    14. Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2006. "Labor supply and personal computer adoption," Working Paper Series 2006-18, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    15. Fishback, Price V. & Horrace, William C. & Kantor, Shawn, 2006. "The impact of New Deal expenditures on mobility during the Great Depression," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 179-222, April.
    16. Bradford, David F & Kelejian, Harry H, 1973. "An Econometric Model of the Flight to the Suburbs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 566-589, May-June.
    17. Roland Bénabou, 1996. "Equity and Efficiency in Human Capital Investment: The Local Connection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 237-264.
    18. repec:cup:jechis:v:57:y:1997:i:03:p:607-632_01 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Margo, Robert A., 1992. "Explaining the postwar suburbanization of population in the United States: The role of income," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 301-310, May.
    20. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "Crime, Urban Flight, And The Consequences For Cities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 159-169, May.
    21. Thurston Lawrence & Yezer Anthony M. J., 1994. "Causality in the Suburbanization of Population and Employment," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 105-118, January.
    22. Carrington, William J & Detragiache, Enrica & Vishwanath, Tara, 1996. "Migration with Endogenous Moving Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 909-930, September.
    23. Mills, Edwin S. & Price, Richard, 1984. "Metropolitan suburbanization and central city problems," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-17, January.
    24. Collins, Wiiliam J., 1997. "When the Tide Turned: Immigration and the Delay of the Great Black Migration," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 607-632, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bayoh, Isaac & Irwin, Elena G. & Haab, Timothy C., 2002. "Flight From Blight Vs. Natural Evolution: Determinats Of Household Residential Location Choice And Suburbanization," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19668, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    2. Abdul Munasib & Genti Kostandini & Jeffrey L. Jordan, 2018. "Impact of the Stand Your Ground law on gun deaths: evidence of a rural urban dichotomy," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 527-554, June.
    3. Tabellini, Marco, 2020. "Racial Heterogeneity and Local Government Finances: Evidence from the Great Migration," CEPR Discussion Papers 14319, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Collins, William J., 2021. "The Great Migration of Black Americans from the US South: A guide and interpretation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    5. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2004. "Sprawl and urban growth," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 56, pages 2481-2527, Elsevier.
    6. Leah Platt Boustan & Devin Bunten & Owen Hearey, 2013. "Urbanization in the United States, 1800-2000," Working Papers 2013-7, Princeton University. Economics Department..
    7. Karen A. Kopecky & Richard M. H. Suen, 2010. "A Quantitative Analysis Of Suburbanization And The Diffusion Of The Automobile," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1003-1037, November.
    8. Sridhar, Kala Seetharam, 2004. "Cities with suburbs: Evidence from India," Working Papers 04/23, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
    9. Leah Boustan & Allison Shertzer, 2013. "Population Trends as a Counterweight to Central City Decline, 1950–2000," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(1), pages 125-147, February.
    10. Sridhar, Kala Seetharam, 2007. "Density gradients and their determinants: Evidence from India," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 314-344, May.
    11. Sukkoo Kim, 2002. "The Reconstruction of the American Urban Landscape in the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 8857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Ingrid Gould Ellen & Katherine O'Regan, 2009. "Crime and U.S. Cities: Recent Patterns and Implications," The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, , vol. 626(1), pages 22-38, November.
    13. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2014. "The Growth of Cities," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 5, pages 781-853, Elsevier.
    14. 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.
    15. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2001. "Decentralized Employment and the Transformation of the American City," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1912, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    16. Victoria Gregory & Julian Kozlowski & Hannah Rubinton, 2022. "The Impact of Racial Segregation on College Attainment in Spatial Equilibrium," Working Papers 2022-036, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 24 Jul 2023.
    17. Wouter Vermeulen & Jos van Ommeren, 2007. "Does Land Use Planning shape Regional Economies?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-004/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    18. Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz & Tommaso Frattini, 2008. "The labour market impact of immigration," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press and Oxford Review of Economic Policy Limited, vol. 24(3), pages 478-495, Autumn.
    19. Brueckner, Jan K. & Helsley, Robert W., 2011. "Sprawl and blight," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 205-213, March.
    20. Tabellini, Marco & Alesina, Alberto, 2020. "The Political Effects of Immigration: Culture or Economics?," CEPR Discussion Papers 15486, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:125:y:2010:i:1:p:417-443.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Oxford University Press (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://academic.oup.com/qje .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.