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Social Mixing as a Cure for Negative Neighbourhood Effects: Evidence Based Policy or Urban Myth?

Author

Listed:
  • Manley, David

    () (University of Bristol)

  • van Ham, Maarten

    () (Delft University of Technology)

  • Doherty, Joe

    () (University of St. Andrews)

Abstract

In this paper, we review the evidence base for social mixing in neighbourhoods, which is used as a strategy to tackle assumed negative neighbourhood effects. We discuss in detail the theoretical links between neighbourhood characteristics, and outcomes of individuals living in concentrations of poverty. Through this we identify the theoretical case for promoting socially mixed communities. We then review the empirical evidence base, focusing on outcomes of the American poverty deconcentration initiatives including the Moving to Opportunity and HOPE VI programs. We identify that the evidence from these programs is at best inconclusive. Turning to the European experience we identify problems associated with using observational data to assess individual outcomes in relation to their neighbourhood context. We conclude by suggesting that the evidence base for social mixing is far from robust, and that many of the current empirical papers suffer from serious analytical shortcomings. Ultimately, the process of creating more socially mixed neighbourhoods is unlikely to create more opportunities in life for the original residents. Socially mixing neighbourhoods through tenure mixing will only change the population composition of neighbourhoods, increasing average incomes because more affluent (and employed) residents will move into the owner occupied housing replacing social housing.

Suggested Citation

  • Manley, David & van Ham, Maarten & Doherty, Joe, 2011. "Social Mixing as a Cure for Negative Neighbourhood Effects: Evidence Based Policy or Urban Myth?," IZA Discussion Papers 5634, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5634
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. van der Klaauw, Bas & van Ours, Jan C., 2003. "From welfare to work: does the neighborhood matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 957-985, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Battaglia, Marianna & Chabé-Ferret, Bastien & Lebedinski, Lara, 2017. "Segregation and Fertility: The Case of the Roma in Serbia," IZA Discussion Papers 10929, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Mark Livingston & Ade Kearns & Nick Bailey, 2013. "Delivering Mixed Communities: The Relationship between Housing Tenure Mix and Social Mix in England's Neighbourhoods," Housing Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(7), pages 1056-1080, October.
    3. Gunvor Christensen, 2015. "A Danish Tale of Why Social Mix Is So Difficult to Increase," Housing Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(2), pages 252-271, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tenure mix; social mixing; neighbourhood effects; evidence base; housing policy;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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