Publications

  • Stable, Racial Integration in the Contemporary United States: An Empirical Overview

    This article presents a broad empirical overview of the extent of racial integration in the contemporary United States. It begins with a discussion of how to measure stable racial integration in neighborhoods. Then, examining data from 34 metropolitan areas, it shows that while integrated neighborhoods containing blacks and whites are considerably less stable than more homogeneous communities, a majority remain integrated over time. Moreover, integration appears to be growing more viable, with racially integrated communities more likely to be stable during the 1980s than during the previous decade. The growing prevalence of stable, racially integrated neighborhoods is an important fact, running counter to the popular, and often self-fulfilling, view that integration is unviable. These communities offer important research opportunities as well. A better understanding of the circumstances under which racial integration seems to succeed will ultimately shed light on the causes of America’s undeniably extreme level of segregation.

  • Miracle on Sixth Avenue: Information Externalities and Search

    After a long dormant period, Lower Sixth Avenue in New York has under gone a rapid revitalisation. We show that a simple search theoretic model with information spillovers can explain both the period of underuse and the rapid turnaround. The model reduces to a simple equation, which allows us to do comparative statics on the duration of vacancies. We show how the solution reacts to changes in market structure and changes in search technology. The model is suggestive of difficulties that may occur in many markets in which there are changes over time in the optimal use of resources.

  • Welcome Neighbors? New Evidence on the Possibility of Stable Racial Integration

    The conventional wisdom on racial integration in the United States is that there are three kinds of neighborhoods: the all-white neighborhood, the all-black neighborhood, and the exceedingly rare, highly unstable, racially mixed neighborhood. The only real disagreement is about why so few neighborhoods are successfully integrated. Some attribute it to white discrimination pure and simple: whites, that is, have consciously and determinedly excluded blacks from their communities. Others contend that it is a matter of minority choice. Like Norwegians in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge and Italians in Manhattan's Little Italy, African Americans, they explain, prefer to live among their own kind. Finally, others maintain that segregation is driven mainly by income differences across racial groups. But almost all agree that when African Americans do manage to gain a foothold in a previously all-white community, the whites move away in droves—a phenomenon well known as "white flight." Integration is no more than, in the words of Saul Alinsky, the "time between when the first black moves in and last white moves out."

  • Does Neighborhood Matter? Assessing Recent Evidence

    This article synthesizes findings from a wide range of empirical research into how neighborhoods affect families and children. It lays out a conceptual framework for understanding how neighborhoods may affect people at different life stages. It then identifies methodological challenges, summarizes past research findings, and suggests priorities for future work.

  • Collateral Damage: Refinancing Constraints and Regional Recessions

    In the current structure of the U.S. residential mortgage market, a decrease in property values may make it very difficult for homeowners to refinance their mortgages to take advantage of declining interest rates. In this paper, we show that this form of collateral constraint has greatly reduced refinancing in states with depressed property markets. We outline the interaction between regional recessions and refinancing constraints.

    • Date: September 1997
    • Research Area(s):
    • Publication Type: Articles
    • Publication: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, 29(4), pp. 496-516
  • The Centralization and Decentralization of Government and Taxes

    Can today’s policy makers and researchers effectively draw on the ideas of 19th-century philosopher Henry George to help solve 21st-century problems? This compendium presents eight essays by scholars who demonstrate that many of George’s ideas about land use and taxation remain valuable today. Policy makers still face Henry George’s fundamental challenge—to balance private property rights and public interests in land.

    • Date: June 1997
    • Research Area(s):
    • Publication Type: Chapters
    • Publication: Land Use and Taxation (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy)
  • Housing Partnerships: A New Approach to a Market at a Crossroads

    The authors of this book propose the development of new markets, called Partnership Markets, that would allow households to use equity finance to buy their homes. With these new markets, a household would be able to finance housing not only with a mortgage, but also with an institutional investor who would provide part of the equity capital for the house in exchange for a share of the ultimate selling price.

  • Reinventing the Central City as a Place to Live and Work

    Public policies for urban development have traditionally emphasized investment in physical infrastructure, the development of large-scale commercial facilities, the construction of new housing, and the renewal of existing neighborhoods. Most efforts to revitalize central cities by building new facilities for visitors have focused on suburban commuters and tourists. At the same time, many housing initiatives in central cities have concentrated on low-income communities because outlying suburban areas have attracted traditional middle-income households.

    • Date: April 1997
    • Research Area(s):
    • Publication Type: Articles
    • Publication: Housing Policy Debate, 8(2)
  • Public Characteristics and Expenditures on Public Services: An Empirical Analysis

    This article investigates the provision of police and education services using a new method of indexing quantities of local public services that isolates movements in shadow prices and quantities in expenditure data. Demand equations for two public characteristics (the crime safety rate and high school reading test pass rates) and two categories of expenditures (education and police services) are simultaneously estimated for New Jersey municipalities. The relationship between public services and public characteristics is estimated, and both the “own” and the “cross “-effects of public services are found to be empirically significant. Increases in expenditures between 1982 and 1983 are found to largely reflect increases in quantities of education services and in prices of police services.

    • Date: March 1997
    • Research Area(s):
    • Publication Type: Articles
    • Publication: Public Finance Review, 25(2), pp. 163-181
  • The Outlook for the Metropolitan Area

    Much of the discourse about regional and local economic development strategies in the United States over the past twenty-five years has looked like a search for general rules. Very few such rules have emerged, in part because—like all policy debates—there have been large inputs of ideology and self-interest, as well as professional inquiry, but in part because the appropriate strategies really are time- and place-specific.

    • Date: February 1997
    • Research Area(s):
    • Publication Type: Articles
    • Publication: Economic Policy Review of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 3(1), pp. 93-111