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Measuring the Effects of Segregation in the Presence of Social Spillovers: A Nonparametric Approach


  • Bryan S. Graham
  • Guido W. Imbens
  • Geert Ridder


In this paper we nonparametrically analyze the effects of reallocating individuals across social groups in the presence of social spillovers. Individuals are either 'high' or 'low' types. Own outcomes may vary with the fraction of high types in one's social group. We characterize the average outcome and inequality effects of small increases in segregation by type. We also provide a measure of average spillover strength. We generalize the setup used by Benabou (1996) and others to study sorting in the presence of social spillovers by incorporating unobserved individual- and group-level heterogeneity. We relate our reallocation estimands to this theory. For each estimand we provide conditions for nonparametric identification, propose estimators, and characterize their large sample properties. We also consider the social planner's problem. We illustrate our approach by studying the effects of sex segregation in classrooms on mathematics achievement.

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  • Bryan S. Graham & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2010. "Measuring the Effects of Segregation in the Presence of Social Spillovers: A Nonparametric Approach," NBER Working Papers 16499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16499
    Note: CH ED LS TWP

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    Cited by:

    1. Huber, Martin & Steinmayr, Andreas, 2017. "A Framework for Separating Individual Treatment Effects From Spillover, Interaction, and General Equilibrium Effects," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 21, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    2. Xavier D'Haultfœuille & Roland Rathelot, 2017. "Measuring segregation on small units: A partial identification analysis," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(1), pages 39-73, March.
    3. Jonas Hjort, 2013. "Ethnic Divisions and Production in Firms," CESifo Working Paper Series 4449, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Ciccone, Antonio & Garcia-Fontes, Walter, 2014. "Gender Peer Effects in School, a Birth Cohort Approach," Working Papers 14-19, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    5. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2013. "Group design with endogenous associations," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 411-421.
    6. van der Laan Mark J. & Petersen Maya & Zheng Wenjing, 2013. "Estimating the Effect of a Community-Based Intervention with Two Communities," Journal of Causal Inference, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 83-106, June.
    7. Chih-Sheng Hsieh & Hans van Kippersluis, 2015. "Smoking Initiation: Peers and Personality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-093/V, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education


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