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When Are Ghettos Bad? Lessons from Immigrant Segregation In the United States

  • Vigdor, Jacob
  • Glaeser, Edward
  • Cutler, David

Recent studies provide conflicting evidence on the connection between ethnic or racial neighborhood segregation and outcomes. Some studies find that residence in an enclave is beneficial, some reach the opposite conclusion, and still others imply that any relationship is small. One hypothesis is that studies differ because the impact of segregation varies across groups, perhaps because its impact is more benign for better-educated groups. This paper presents new evidence on this hypothesis using data on first-generation immigrants in the United States. We confront the endogenous selection into residential enclaves and find that selection into enclave neighborhoods is on balance negative. Correcting for this selection produces positive mean effects of segregation, and a positive correlation between group average human capital and the impact of segregation.

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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 2666726.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Urban Economics
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:2666726
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  1. Per-Anders Edin & Peter Fredriksson & Olof �slund, 2003. "Ethnic Enclaves And The Economic Success Of Immigrants - Evidence From A Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 329-357, February.
  2. Vigdor, Jacob L. & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2008. "Is the Melting Pot Still Hot? Explaining the Resurgence of Immigrant Segregation," Scholarly Articles 2664275, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Daniel Aaronson, 1998. "Using Sibling Data to Estimate the Impact of Neighborhoods on Children's Educational Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 915-946.
  4. Fryer, Roland & Echenique, Federico, 2007. "A Measure of Segregation Based on Social Interactions," Scholarly Articles 2958220, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-91, October.
  6. Brian A. Jacob, 2004. "Public Housing, Housing Vouchers, and Student Achievement: Evidence from Public Housing Demolitions in Chicago," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 233-258, March.
  7. George J. Borjas, 1997. "To Ghetto or Not to Ghetto: Ethnicity and Residential Segregation," NBER Working Papers 6176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Edin, P.-A. & Fredriksson, P. & Aslund, O., 2000. "Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Papers 2000:21, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  9. Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "The Long-Run Consequences Of Living In A Poor Neighborhood," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1533-1575, November.
  10. Collins, William J. & Margo, Robert A., 2000. "Residential segregation and socioeconomic outcomes: When did ghettos go bad?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 239-243, November.
  11. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-90, June.
  12. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1997. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," NBER Working Papers 5881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Kling, Jeffrey & Liebman, Jeffrey, 2004. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects on Youth," Working Paper Series rwp04-034, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  14. Gary Solon & Marianne E. Page & Greg J. Duncan, 2000. "Correlations Between Neighboring Children In Their Subsequent Educational Attainment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 383-392, August.
  15. Joel Waldfogel, 1999. "Preference Externalities: An Empirical Study of Who Benefits Whom in Differentiated Product Markets," NBER Working Papers 7391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," NBER Working Papers 11577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jeffrey R. Kling & B. Jeffrey Liebman, 2004. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects on Youth," Working Papers 862, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  18. Marianne E. Page & Gary Solon, 2003. "Correlations between Brothers and Neighboring Boys in Their Adult Earnings: The Importance of Being Urban," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 831-856, October.
  19. Federico Echenique & Roland G. Fryer, Jr., 2005. "On the Measurement of Segregation," NBER Working Papers 11258, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Cutler, David M & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-72, August.
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