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Poisson Indices of Segregation

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  • Angelo, Mele

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Angelo, Mele, 2009. "Poisson Indices of Segregation," MPRA Paper 15155, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15155
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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, May.
    2. Frankel, David M. & Volij, Oscar, 2011. "Measuring school segregation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 1-38, January.
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    7. Alberto Alesina & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross Section of Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1872-1911, August.
    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. Ananat, Elizabeth Oltmans & Washington, Ebonya, 2009. "Segregation and Black political efficacy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 807-822, June.
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    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. repec:hrv:faseco:30752835 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. La Ferrara, Eliana & Mele, Angelo, 2006. "Racial Segregation and Public School Expenditure," CEPR Discussion Papers 5750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    17. Federico Echenique & Roland G. Fryer, 2007. "A Measure of Segregation Based on Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 441-485.
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro & Matt Taddy, 2019. "Measuring Group Differences in High‐Dimensional Choices: Method and Application to Congressional Speech," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 87(4), pages 1307-1340, July.
    2. Lévêque, Christophe & Saleh, Mohamed, 2018. "Does industrialization affect segregation? Evidence from nineteenth-century Cairo," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 40-61.
    3. Gordon Anderson & Oliver Linton & Jasmin Thomas, 2017. "Similarity, dissimilarity and exceptionality: generalizing Gini’s transvariation to measure “differentness” in many distributions," METRON, Springer;Sapienza Università di Roma, vol. 75(2), pages 161-180, August.
    4. Florent Dubois & Christophe Muller, 2017. "Decomposing Well-being Measures in South Africa: The Contribution of Residential Segregation to Income Distribution," AMSE Working Papers 1719, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    5. Gordon Anderson, 2018. "Measuring Aspects of Mobility, Polarization and Convergence in the Absence of Cardinality: Indices Based Upon Transitional Typology," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 887-907, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    spatial segregation; spatial processes; nonparametric estimation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

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