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Collective Action, White Flight, and the Origins of Formal Segregation Laws

Listed author(s):
  • Werner Troesken
  • Randall Walsh

This paper develops and tests a simple model to explain the origins of municipal segregation ordinances. Passed by cities between 1909 and 1917, these ordinances prohibited members of the majority racial group on a given city block from selling or renting property to members of another racial group. Our results suggest that prior to these laws cities had created and sustained residential segregation through private norms and vigilante activity. Only when these private arrangements began to break down during the early 1900s did whites start lobbying municipal governments for segregation ordinances.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23691.

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Date of creation: Aug 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23691
Note: DAE PE POL
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  1. Leah Platt Boustan, 2010. "Was Postwar Suburbanization "White Flight"? Evidence from the Black Migration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 417-443.
  2. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "Tipping and the Dynamics of Segregation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 177-218.
  3. Jonathan T. Rothwell & Douglas S. Massey, 2010. "Density Zoning and Class Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(s1), pages 1123-1143.
  4. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2012. "Hatred and Profits: Under the Hood of the Ku Klux Klan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(4), pages 1883-1925.
  5. Jonathan T. Rothwell, 2011. "Racial Enclaves and Density Zoning: The Institutionalized Segregation of Racial Minorities in the United States," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 290-358.
  6. Pritchett, Jonathan B., 1989. "The Burden of Negro Schooling: Tax Incidence and Racial Redistribution in Postbellum North Carolina," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 966-973, December.
  7. Alston, Lee J & Ferrie, Joseph P, 1993. "Paternalism in Agricultural Labor Contracts in the U.S. South: Implications for the Growth of the Welfare State," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 852-876, September.
  8. Collins, William J. & Margo, Robert A., 2001. "Race and Home Ownership: A Century-Long View," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 68-92, January.
  9. Roback, Jennifer, 1986. "The Political Economy of Segregation: The Case of Segregated Streetcars," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(04), pages 893-917, December.
  10. Alston, Lee J. & Higgs, Robert, 1982. "Contractual Mix in Southern Agriculture since the Civil War: Facts, Hypotheses, and Tests," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(02), pages 327-353, June.
  11. Price V. Fishback & Jonathan Rose & Kenneth Snowden, 2013. "Well Worth Saving: How the New Deal Safeguarded Home Ownership," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fish12-1, October.
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