Publications

  • The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988: The First Decade

    Thirty years ago, Congress enacted the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968, which outlawed for the first time private as well as public discrimination in housing. Twenty years later, Congress passed the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, a law that significantly expanded the scope of the original legislation and strengthened its enforcement mechanisms. Like most important pieces of Federal legislation, the Fair Housing Act and the 1988 Amendments Act embody a series of careful compromises crafted by members of Congress.

    • Date: September 1998
    • Research Area(s):
    • Publication Type: Articles
    • Publication: Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, 4 (3), pp. 57-78
  • An Economic Analysis of Housing Abandonment

    Landlord abandonment of rental housing has affected many American cities since the 1960’s. Because of data limitations, there have been few empirical analyses of the determinants of housing abandonment. In this paper, we use a rich database that contains information on individual residential properties in New York City to estimate a reduced form model of owner abandonment. We model an owner’s decision to abandon his or her property as being similar to an investor’s decision to exercise a put option on a financial instrument. When required to pay delinquent taxes, a wealth-maximizing landlord has an incentive to cede ownership of his or her residential property when the value of all outstanding liens exceeds the property’s market value. Estimates from the model are used to examine whether empirical evidence supports this option model of abandonment.

  • Blaine’s Wake: School Choice, the First Amendment, and State Constitutional Law

    Focuses on the issue of school choice, while giving an explanation on the awkward position in which the United States federalism has placed on the ideal of religious freedom. Details on the history of the Blaine Amendment; Role of the court in determining the status of school choice in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Vermont; Review of the federal case law related to school choice.

  • The Housing Conditions of Immigrants in New York City

    The influx of immigrants to New York City increases the demand for housing. Because the city has one of the nation’s tightest and most complicated housing markets, immigrants may disproportionately occupy the lowest-quality housing. This article examines homeownership, affordability, crowding, and housing quality among foreign- and native-born households. Overall, foreign-born households are more likely to be renters and encounter affordability problems. Multivariate analyses reveal that foreign-born renters are more likely to live in overcrowded and unsound housing but less likely to live in badly maintained dwellings. However, compared with nativeborn white renters, immigrants—especially Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Caribbeans, Africans, and Latin Americans—are more likely to live in badly maintained units. Because this disadvantage is shared by native-born blacks and Hispanics, it strongly suggests that race and ethnicity are more significant than immigrant status per se in determining housing conditions.

  • 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
  • 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)