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Are Ghettos Good or Bad?

  • David M. Cutler
  • Edward L. Glaeser

Theory suggests that spatial separation of racial and ethnic groups can have both positive and negative effects on the economic performance of minorities. Racial segregation may be damaging because it curtails informational connections with the larger community or because concentrations of poverty deter human capital accumulation and encourage crime. Alternatively racial segregation might ensure that minorities have middle-class role models and thus promote good outcomes. We examine the effects of segregation on African-American outcomes in schooling, employment and single parenthood and find that African-Americans in more segregated areas do significantly worse, particularly if they live in central cities. We control for the endogeneity of location choice using instruments based on political factors, topographical features of cities, and residence before adulthood. Some, but never more than 40% of this effect, stems from lack of role models and large commuting times.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5163.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5163.

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Date of creation: Jun 1995
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Publication status: published as Cutler, David M. and Edward L. Glaeser. "Are Ghettos Good Or Bad?," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1997, v112(3,Aug), 827-872.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5163
Note: PE EFG
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  1. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R & Sjoquist, David L, 1990. "Job Accessibility and Racial Differences in Youth Employment Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 267-76, March.
  2. Chiswick, Barry R., 1991. "Jewish immigrant skill and occupational attainment at the turn of the century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 64-86, January.
  3. Case, A.C. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects Of Family And Neighborhood On Disadvantaged Younths," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1555, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Culture and Language," NBER Working Papers 5249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Does Competition Among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," NBER Working Papers 4979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Katherine M. O'Regan & John M. Quigley, 1996. "Teenage Employment and the Spatial Isolation of Minority and Poverty Households," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 692-702.
  8. Roland Benabou, 1991. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," NBER Technical Working Papers 0113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Glaeser, Edward L & Mare, David C, 2001. "Cities and Skills," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 316-42, April.
  10. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-90, June.
  11. Cutler, David M & Elmendorf, Douglas W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1993. "Demographic Characteristics and the Public Bundle," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 48(Supplemen), pages 178-98.
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