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A Measure of Segregation Based on Social Interactions

  • Fryer, Roland
  • Echenique, Federico

We develop an index of segregation based on two premises: (1) a measure of segregation should disaggregate to the level of individuals, and (2) an individual is more segregated the more segregated are the agents with whom she interacts. We present an index that satisfies (1) and (2) and that is based on agents' social interactions: the extent to which blacks interact with blacks, whites with whites, etc. We use the index to measure school and residential segregation. Using detailed data on friendship networks, we calculate levels of within-school racial segregation in a sample of U. S. schools. We also calculate residential segregation across major U. S. cities, using block-level data from the 2000 U. S. Census.

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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 2958220.

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Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Quarterly Journal of Economics
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:2958220
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  1. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S95-S126, December.
  2. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "The Causes and Consequences of Distinctively Black Names," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 767-805, August.
  3. 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.
  4. Lawrence Katz & B. Jeffrey Liebman, 2000. "Moving to Opportunity in Boston: Early Results of a Randomized Mobility Experiment," Working Papers 820, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. Philipson Tomas, 1993. "Social Welfare and Measurement of Segregation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 322-334, August.
  6. Case, A.C. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects Of Family And Neighborhood On Disadvantaged Younths," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1555, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, 01.
  8. Jonathan Guryan, 2001. "Desegregation and Black Dropout Rates," NBER Working Papers 8345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hutchens, Robert, 2001. "Numerical measures of segregation: desirable properties and their implications," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 13-29, July.
  10. Jan K. Brueckner & Oleg Smirnov, 2004. "Workings of the Melting Pot: Social Networks and the Evolution of Population Attributes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1320, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Paul Torelli, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of 'Acting White'," NBER Working Papers 11334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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