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Happy in the Hood? The Impact of Residential Segregation on Self-Reported Happiness

  • Herbst, Chris M.

    ()

    (Arizona State University)

  • Lucio, Joanna

    ()

    (Arizona State University)

Registered author(s):

    Previous research consistently finds that racially-based residential segregation is associated with poor economic, health, and social outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between residential segregation and self-reported happiness. Using panel data from the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), we begin by estimating ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions of happiness on a measure of MSA-level segregation, controlling for a rich set of individual, neighborhood, and state characteristics. The OLS results suggest that increased segregation is associated with a reduction in happiness among blacks. To deal more appropriately with the potential endogeneity of location choice, we extend the methodology to fully exploit the panel structure of the NSFH and incorporate individual fixed effects into the happiness equation. Contrary to the OLS results, our fixed effects estimates imply that blacks are happier in more segregated metropolitan areas. The paper discusses the implications of these results within the context of current integration policies.

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    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp7944.pdf
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    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7944.

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    Length: 41 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2014
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7944
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    1. Alan B. Krueger & David A. Schkade, 2007. "The Reliability of Subjective Well-Being Measures," Working Papers 64, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    2. Chang, Virginia W., 2006. "Racial residential segregation and weight status among US adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(5), pages 1289-1303, September.
    3. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
    4. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren & Patrick Kline & Emmanuel Saez, 2014. "Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States," NBER Working Papers 19843, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. Douglas Massey & Nancy Denton, 1989. "Hypersegregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas: Black and Hispanic Segregation Along Five Dimensions," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 373-391, August.
    7. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 10667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch & Andrew J. Oswald, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 809-827, November.
    9. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
    11. Card, David & Rothstein, Jesse, 2007. "Racial segregation and the black-white test score gap," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2158-2184, December.
    12. Ludwig, Jens & Duncan, Greg J. & Katz, Lawrence F. & Kessler, Ronald & Kling, Jeffrey R. & Gennetian, Lisa A. & Sanbonmatsu, Lisa, 2012. "Neighborhood Effects on the Long-Term Well-Being of Low-Income Adults," Scholarly Articles 11870359, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    13. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
    14. Lance Freeman, 2005. "Black Homeownership: The Role of Temporal Changes and Residential Segregation at the End of the 20th Century," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 86(2), pages 403-426.
    15. Boyd-Swan, Casey & Herbst, Chris M., 2012. "Pain at the pump: Gasoline prices and subjective well-being," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 160-175.
    16. Sapna Swaroop & Maria Krysan, 2011. "The Determinants of Neighborhood Satisfaction: Racial Proxy Revisited," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 1203-1229, August.
    17. John Logan & Brian Stults & Reynolds Farley, 2004. "Segregation of minorities in the metropolis: two decades of change," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 1-22, February.
    18. Akay, Alpaslan & Bargain, Olivier & Dolls, Mathias & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2012. "Happy Taxpayers? Income Taxation and Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 6999, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Subramanian, S.V. & Acevedo-Garcia, Dolores & Osypuk, Theresa L., 2005. "Racial residential segregation and geographic heterogeneity in black/white disparity in poor self-rated health in the US: a multilevel statistical analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 1667-1679, April.
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