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An Equilibrium Model of Sorting in an Urban Housing Market: The Causes and Consequences of Residential Segregation

  • Patrick Bayer


    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Robert McMillan
  • Kim Rueben

This paper presents a new equilibrium framework for analyzing economic and policy questions related to the sorting of households within a large metropolitan area. We estimate the model using restricted-access Census data that precisely characterize residential and employment locations for households the San Francisco Bay Area, yielding accurate measures of preferences for a wide variety of housing and neighborhood attributes across different types of household. We use these estimates to explore the causes and consequences of racial segregation in general equilibrium. Our results indicate that, given the preference structure of households in the Bay Area, the elimination of racial differences in income and wealth would significantly increase the residential segregation of each major racial group, as the equalization of income leads, for example, to the formation of new wealthy, segregated Black and Hispanic neighborhoods. We also provide evidence that sorting on the basis of race itself (whether driven by preferences or discrimination) leads to large reductions in the consumption of housing, public safety, and school quality by Black and Hispanic households.

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Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 860.

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Length: 88 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:860
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  6. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human Capital Externalities," NBER Working Papers 4912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Benabou, Roland, 1993. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 619-52, August.
  9. Nechyba, Thomas J, 1999. " School Finance Induced Migration and Stratification Patterns: The Impact of Private School Vouchers," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 1(1), pages 5-50.
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  11. Gabriel, Stuart A & Rosenthal, Stuart S, 1989. "Household Location and Race: Estimates of Multinomial Logit Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 240-49, May.
  12. Cutler, David & Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Scholarly Articles 2770033, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Thomas. J. Nechyba, 1997. "Existence of equilibrium and stratification in local and hierarchical Tiebout economies with property taxes and voting," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 277-304.
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  15. Nechyba, Thomas J. & Strauss, Robert P., 1998. "Community choice and local public services: A discrete choice approach," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 51-73, January.
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  17. Epple, Dennis & Filimon, Radu & Romer, Thomas, 1993. "Existence of voting and housing equilibrium in a system of communities with property taxes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 585-610, November.
  18. Miller, Vincent P. & Quigley, John M., 1990. "Segregation by Racial and Demographic Group: Evidence from the San Francisco Bay Area," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt1839w13f, University of California Transportation Center.
  19. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
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  22. Fernandez, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1996. "Income Distribution, Communities, and the Quality of Public Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 135-64, February.
  23. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
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  25. Benabou, Roland, 1996. "Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth: Macroeconomic Implications of Community Structure and School Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 584-609, June.
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