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A Neighborhood-Level View of Riots, Property Values, and Population Loss: Cleveland 1950-1980

  • William J. Collins


    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • Fred H. Smith


    (Department of Economics, Davidson College)

We undertake a case study of riots in the context of Cleveland's economic decline between 1950 and 1980. Our empirical perspective emphasizes differential changes in property values and population levels across census tracts depending on their proximity to the riots' epicenter. We find patterns that are consistent with concentrated, negative, and long-lasting effects from the 1960s riots. These estimates do not depend on whether we use a narrow or a broad categorization for "riot tracts", whether we use simple difference-in-difference measures or detailed information on the distance of each tract from the riot center, or whether we use ordinary least squares or matching estimation techniques. Moreover, the negative relationship between riots and property value trends is not merely a reflection of the pre-existing trend in value, the pre-riot racial composition of the neighborhoods, the pre-riot proportion of neighborhood residents holding manufacturing jobs, the neighborhood crime rate, nor changes in the observable characteristics of the housing stock. ClevelandÕs economic difficulties did not start with the riots. Rather, we suggest that the impact of the riots was compounded by long-run forces that were already eroding ClevelandÕs economic base.

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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0528.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0528
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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2001. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1931, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 2003. "The Labor Market Effects of the 1960s Riots," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0324, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  3. Glaeser, E.L. & Scheinkman, J.A., 1993. "Economic Growth in a Cross-Section of Cities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1645, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. 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.
  5. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "Crime, Urban Flight, And The Consequences For Cities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 159-169, May.
  6. Alex Anas & Richard Arnott & Kenneth A. Small, 1998. "Urban Spatial Structure," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1426-1464, September.
  7. Kennedy, Peter E, 1981. "Estimation with Correctly Interpreted Dummy Variables in Semilogarithmic Equations [The Interpretation of Dummy Variables in Semilogarithmic Equations]," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 801, September.
  8. Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Curley Effect: The Economics of Shaping the Electorate," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-19, April.
  9. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
  10. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
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