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Community Composition and Collective Action: Analyzing Initial Mail Response to the 2000 Census

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  • Jacob L. Vigdor

    (Duke University)

Abstract

This paper analyzes how community heterogeneity influences resident decisions to undertake actions generating public benefits. The decision in question is completing and returning the 2000 Census questionnaire, an action which secures a significant amount of federal grants for the community. The model developed to explain this action allows members of societal groups to differentially value public benefits that accrue to other group members. Racial, generational, and socioeconomic class heterogeneity all predict significantly lower response rates at the county level. The potential for endogenous sorting into heterogeneous counties implies that the magnitude of true behavioral effects exceeds these estimates. © 2004 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob L. Vigdor, 2004. "Community Composition and Collective Action: Analyzing Initial Mail Response to the 2000 Census," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 303-312, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:86:y:2004:i:1:p:303-312
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