IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Neighborhood Attributes as Determinants of Children's Outcomes: How Robust Are the Relationships?


  • Donna Ginther
  • Robert Haveman
  • Barbara Wolfe


Estimates of neighborhood effects on children's outcomes vary widely among the studies that seek to identify their existence and magnitude, reflecting substantial variation in data and model specification. Here, we review that literature, and ask if the disparity in estimates of neighborhood effects may reflect the differences among studies in the specification of family characteristics, and hence omitted variables bias. We report a systematic set of robustness results for three youth outcomes (high school graduation, the number of years of completed schooling, and teen nonmarital childbearing) using data on about 2,600 children from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We observe these children over a period of at least 21 years and have included an extensive set of neighborhood variables for these individuals measured over the entire school-age period. We measure the relationship of these neighborhood variables to the three outcomes, moving from basic models containing no individual and family characteristic variables to models containing an extensive set of individual and family statistical controls. We conclude that the reliability of estimates of these impacts may be an artifact of the degree to which family background is characterized in model specification. Confidence that reported neighborhood effects reveal true relationships requires statistical controls for the full range of family and individual background that may also influence children's attainments; not all variables with coefficients showing asterisks have significant effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Donna Ginther & Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 2000. "Neighborhood Attributes as Determinants of Children's Outcomes: How Robust Are the Relationships?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 603-642.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:35:y:2000:i:4:p:603-642

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: A subscripton is required to access pdf files. Pay per article is available.

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

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:uwp:jhriss:v:35:y:2000:i:4:p:603-642. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.