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Poisson Indices of Segregation

  • Angelo, Mele

Existing indices of residential segregation are based on an arbitrary partition of the city in neighborhoods: given a spatial distribution of racial groups, the index provides different levels of segregation for different partitions. This paper proposes a method in which individual locations are mapped to aggregate levels of segregation, avoiding arbitrary partitions. Assuming a simple spatial process driving the locations of different racial groups, I define a location-specific segregation index and measure the city-level segregation as average of the individual index. After deriving several distributional results for this family of indices, I apply the idea to US Census data, using nonparametric estimation techniques. This approach provides different levels and rankings of cities' segregation than traditional indices. I show that high aggregate levels of spatial separation are the result of very few locations with extremely high local segregation. I replicate the study of Cutler and Glaeser (1997) showing that their results change when segregation is measured using my approach. These findings potentially challenge the robustness of previous studies about the impact of segregation on socioeconomic outcomes.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 15155.

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Date of creation: 07 Feb 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15155
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  1. Alesina, Alberto F & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2008. "Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross-Section of Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 6943, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Robert Hutchens, 2004. "One Measure of Segregation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 555-578, 05.
  3. BOSSERT, Walter & D’AMBROSIO, Conchita & LA FERRARA, Eliana, 2008. "A Generalized Index of Fractionalization," Cahiers de recherche 2008-01, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, . "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Working Papers 151, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1209-1238, December.
  6. Fryer, Roland & Echenique, Federico, 2007. "A Measure of Segregation Based on Social Interactions," Scholarly Articles 2958220, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  8. 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.
  9. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Card, David & Rothstein, Jesse, 2007. "Racial segregation and the black-white test score gap," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2158-2184, December.
  11. 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.
  12. Roger Koenker & Ivan Mizera, 2004. "Penalized triograms: total variation regularization for bivariate smoothing," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 66(1), pages 145-163.
  13. Ananat, Elizabeth Oltmans & Washington, Ebonya, 2009. "Segregation and Black political efficacy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 807-822, June.
  14. Frankel, David M. & Volij, Oscar, 2010. "Measuring School Segregation," Staff General Research Papers 31808, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  15. Cutler, David M & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-72, August.
  16. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  17. La Ferrara, Eliana & Mele, Angelo, 2006. "Racial Segregation and Public School Expenditure," CEPR Discussion Papers 5750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Peter Diggle & Pingping Zheng & Peter Durr, 2005. "Nonparametric estimation of spatial segregation in a multivariate point process: bovine tuberculosis in Cornwall, UK," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 54(3), pages 645-658.
  19. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  20. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat, 2011. "The Wrong Side(s) of the Tracks: The Causal Effects of Racial Segregation on Urban Poverty and Inequality," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 34-66, April.
  21. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
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