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

  • David M. Cutler
  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Jacob L. Vigdor

Recent literature on the relationship between ethnic or racial segregation and outcomes has failed to produce a consensus view of the role of ghettos; some studies suggest that residence in an enclave is beneficial, some reach the opposite conclusion, and still others imply that any relationship is small. This paper presents new evidence on this relationship using data on first-generation immigrants in the United States. Using average group characteristics as instruments for segregation, controlling for individual characteristics and both metropolitan area and country-of-origin fixed effects, we estimate impacts of residential concentration that vary with group human capital levels. Residential concentration can be beneficial, but primarily for more educated groups. The mean impact of residential concentration varies across measures, which may illuminate some of the causal mechanisms relating segregation to outcomes.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13082.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13082.

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Date of creation: May 2007
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Publication status: published as Cutler, David M. & Glaeser, Edward L. & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2008. "When are ghettos bad? Lessons from immigrant segregation in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 759-774, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13082
Note: LS
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  1. 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.
  2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2005. "Is the Melting Pot Still Hot? Explaining the Resurgence of Immigrant Segregation," NBER Working Papers 11295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "The Long-Run Consequences of Living in a Poor Neighborhood," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1533-1575.
  4. Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter & Åslund, Olof, 2000. "Ethnic Enclaves and the Economic Success of Immigrants - Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Working Paper Series 2000:21, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. Waldfogel, Joel, 2003. " Preference Externalities: An Empirical Study of Who Benefits Whom in Differentiated-Product Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(3), pages 557-68, Autumn.
  6. 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.
  7. Borjas, George J., 1998. "To Ghetto or Not to Ghetto: Ethnicity and Residential Segregation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 228-253, September.
  8. 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.
  9. Fryer, Roland & Echenique, Federico, 2007. "A Measure of Segregation Based on Social Interactions," Scholarly Articles 2958220, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Cutler, David & Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Scholarly Articles 2770033, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Edin, P.-A. & Fredriksson, P. & Aslund, O., 2000. "Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Papers 2000:21, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  12. 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.
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  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Federico Echenique & Roland G. Fryer, Jr., 2005. "On the Measurement of Segregation," NBER Working Papers 11258, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human Capital Externalities," NBER Working Papers 4912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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