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The Economic Aftermath of the 1960s Riots: Evidence from Property Values


  • William J. Collins
  • Robert A. Margo


In the 1960s numerous cities in the United States experienced violent, race-related civil disturbances. Although social scientists have long studied the causes of the riots, the consequences have received much less attention. This paper examines census data from 1950 to 1980 to measure the riots' impact on the value of central-city residential property, and especially on black-owned property. Both ordinary least squares and two-stage least squares estimates indicate that the riots depressed the median value of black-owned property between 1960 and 1970, with little or no rebound in the 1970s. Analysis of household-level data suggests that the racial gap in the value of property widened in riot-afflicted cities during the 1970s.

Suggested Citation

  • William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 2004. "The Economic Aftermath of the 1960s Riots: Evidence from Property Values," NBER Working Papers 10493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10493
    Note: DAE LS

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2005. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 345-375, April.
    2. 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.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, and Growth in Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199.
    4. Kain, John F & Quigley, John Michael, 1972. "Housing Market Discrimination, Homeownership, and Savings Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(3), pages 263-277, June.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:67:y:1973:i:01:p:11-28_14 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
    7. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R. & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge, 1986. "Alternative value estimates of owner-occupied housing: Evidence on sample selection bias and systematic errors," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 356-369, November.
    8. DiPasquale, Denise & Glaeser, Edward L., 1998. "The Los Angeles Riot and the Economics of Urban Unrest," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 52-78, January.
    9. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-872.
    10. John F. Kain, 1968. "Housing Segregation, Negro Employment, and Metropolitan Decentralization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 175-197.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jaideep Gupte & Patricia Justino & Jean-Pierre Tranchant, 2012. "Households amidst urban riots: The economic consequences of civil violence in India," HiCN Working Papers 126, Households in Conflict Network.
    2. Doug Miller & Jens Ludwig, 2005. "Does Head Start Improve Children?s Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," Working Papers 534, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    3. Leah Platt Boustan, 2012. "School Desegregation and Urban Change: Evidence from City Boundaries," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 85-108, January.
    4. Collins, William J. & Smith, Fred H., 2007. "A neighborhood-level view of riots, property values, and population loss: Cleveland 1950-1980," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 365-386, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • R0 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General
    • N92 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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