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The Political Economy of State Fair-Housing Laws Prior to 1968

  • William J. Collins

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University; NBER; Model-Okun Fellow of Brookings Institution)

The confluence of the Great Migration and the Civil Rights Movement propelled the drive for "fair-housing" legislation which attempted to curb overt discrimination in housing markets. This drive culminated in the passage of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1968. By that time, 57 percent of the U.S. population and 41 percent of the African-American population already resided in states with a fair-housing law. Despite laying the political and administrative groundwork for the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, the origins and diffusion of these state laws have not received much attention from scholars, let alone been subject to statistical efforts to disentangle multiple influences. This paper uses hazard models to analyze the diffusion of fair-housing legislation to shed new light on the combination of economic and political forces that facilitated the laws' adoption. Ceteris paribus, outside the South, states with larger union memberships, more Jewish residents, and more NAACP members passed fair-housing laws sooner than others. The estimated effects are not undermined by including controls for a variety of competing factors and are supported by historical accounts of the legislative campaigns.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu04-w13.pdf
File Function: First version, 2004
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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0413.

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Date of creation: Jun 2004
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0413
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  1. Leigh, Wilhelmina A, 1988. "The Social Preference for Fair Housing: During the Civil Rights Movement and Since," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 156-62, May.
  2. Wilhelmina Leigh, 1991. "Civil rights legislation and the housing status of black americans: An overview," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 5-28, March.
  3. Wright, Gavin, 1999. "The Civil Rights Revolution as Economic History," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(02), pages 267-289, June.
  4. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1972. "Racial Discrimination and Trade Unionism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages 435-64, May-June.
  5. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "The Pursuit of Opportunity: Explaining Selective Black Migration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 391-417, May.
  6. Suzanne Bianchi & Reynolds Farley & Daphne Spain, 1982. "Racial inequalities in housing: An examiation of recent trends," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 19(1), pages 37-51, February.
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