Publications

  • Author: Ingrid Gould Ellen ×
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  • Immigrant Children and Urban Schools: Evidence from NYC on Segregation and its Consequences

    For several decades, social scientists have tracked the fiscal health of American central cities with some degree of concern. Suburbanization, spawned by technological innovations, consumer preferences, and at least to some extent by government policy, has selectively pulled affluent households out of urban jurisdictions. The leaders of these jurisdictions are left with the prospect of satisfying more concentrated demands for services with a dwindling tax base, realizing that further increasing the burden they place on residents will simply drive more of them away. In the process, cities have become concentrated centers of poverty, joblessness, crime, and other social pathologies.

  • Neighborhood Effects on Health: Exploring the Links and Assessing the Evidence

    This article explores the possible causal pathways through which neighborhoods might affect health and then reviews the existing evidence. Although methodological issues make the literature inconclusive, the authors offer a provisional hypothesis for how neighborhoods shape health outcomes. They hypothesize that neighborhoods may primarily influence health in two ways: first, through relatively short-term influences on behaviors, attitudes, and health-care utilization, thereby affecting health conditions that are most immediately responsive to such influences; and second, through a longer-term process of “weathering,” whereby the accumulated stress, lower environmental quality, and limited resources of poorer communities, experienced over many years, erodes the health of residents in ways that make them more vulnerable to mortality from any given disease. Finally, drawing on the more extensive research that has been done exploring the effects of neighborhoods on education and employment, the authors suggest several directions for future research.

  • Community Development Corporations and Welfare Reform: Linkages, Roles, and Impacts

    This study examined the impact of welfare reform on housing owned by community development corporations (CDCs), investigating how early implementation of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) affected the financial status of CDCs' affordable housing developments. Five types of financial impacts were considered: tenant incomes and employment; other tenant behaviors; late payments; turnover; and aggregate changes in CDC income and expenses. The study examined four CDCs in each of six cities: Atlanta, Georgia; Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; New York, New York; and San Francisco, California. Research methodology included interviews with CDC staff, tenant representatives, and leaders from other civic institutions; follow-up questionnaires of key respondents; and focus groups with tenants. Overall, among those organizations that engaged in various nonhousing activities or viewed their missions as including community development in broader terms, many were already providing job training, child care, or other social services that might be thought of as responding to welfare reform. These groups reported that such efforts had little to do with the advent of welfare reform. While many CDC staffers were concerned about the impact of welfare reform laws on impoverished communities, they reported little evidence of increased problems and found most changes in their neighborhoods to be positive.

  • Building Homes, Reviving Neighborhoods: Spillovers from Subsidized Construction of Owner-Occupied Housing in New York City

    This article examines the impact of two New York City homeownership programs on surrounding property values.  Both programs, the Nehemiah Program and the Partnership New Homes program, subsidize the construction of affordable owner-occupied homes in distressed neighborhoods.  Our results show that during the past two decades prices of properties in the rings surrounding the homeownership projects have risen relative to their ZIP codes.  Results suggest that part of that rise is attributable to the affordable homeownership programs.

  • Sharing America’s Neighborhoods: The Prospects for Stable, Racial Integration

    Instead of panic and “white flight” causing the rapid breakdown of racially integrated neighborhoods, the author argues, contemporary racial change is driven primarily by the decision of white households not to move into integrated neighborhoods when they are moving for reasons unrelated to race.

  • Race-Based Neighborhood Projection: A Proposed Framework for Understanding New Data

    This paper outlines the race-based, neighbourhood projection hypothesis which holds that, in choosing neighbourhoods, households care less about present racial composition than they do about expectations about future neighbourhood conditions, such as school quality, property values and crime. Race remains relevant, however, since households tend to associate a growing minority presence with structural decline. Using a unique data-set that links households to their neighbourhoods, this paper estimates both exit and entry models and then constructs a simple simulation model that predicts the course of racial change in different communities. Doing so, the paper concludes that the empirical evidence is more consistent with the race-based projection hypothesis than with other common explanations for neighbourhood racial transition.

  • No Easy Answers: Cautionary Notes for Competitive Cities

    Leaders of American cities seeking to foster economic growth often look to success stories from other cities, hoping to find models and strategies to replicate. Some favorite strategies include investing in infrastructure, lowering taxes (both overall and in a targeted fashion), building sports stadiums, picking and promoting particular industries (such as "high tech"), and investing in casino gambling. But many benefits of those popular success stories are at best exaggerated and at worst apocryphal. Although the strategies sound appealing, and although each may have worked in particular well-publicized circumstances, as gambling did in Las Vegas, they are typically not successful and policymakers should be cautious in pursuing them.

  • New White Flight? The Dynamics of Neighborhood Change in the 1980s

    The rapid rise in immigration over the past few decades has transformed the American social landscape, while the need to understand its impact on society has led to a burgeoning research literature. Predominantly non-European and of varied cultural, social, and economic backgrounds, the new immigrants present analytic challenges that cannot be wholly met by traditional immigration studies.

  • Is Segregation Bad for Your Health? The Case of Low Birth Weight

    This paper explores the relationship between racial segregation and racial disparities in the prevalence of low birth weight. The paper has two parallel motivations. First, the disparities between black and white mothers in birth outcomes are large and persistent. Second, while there is a growing literature on the costs of racial segregation it has largely focused on economic outcomes such as education and employment.

  • Spatial Stratification within US Metropolitan Areas

    In most metropolitan areas, central cities and older, inner-ring suburbs tend to have lower-skilled and less affluent populations, lower tax bases, as well as more deteriorated housing stocks and infrastructures, than their newer, outer-ring suburban neighbors. And the segregation becomes even more apparent if comparisons are made across individual neighborhoods within these jurisdictions. The first section, in order to set the stage, documents the magnitude of the spatial and jurisdictional disparities within the average metropolitan area and determines how these have changed in recent years. Many researchers go no further and thus overlook the surprising diversity found across different metropolitan areas in the magnitude of disparities. This paper, however, makes this variation its central concern. To this end, the second section classifies metropolitan areas on the basis of the magnitude of their central-city-suburban disparities and identifies certain metropolitan-area characteristics (such as population size, the degree of racial segregation, and the elasticity of the central-city boundaries) that are correlated with greater and lesser disparities. The third section then estimates a simple, cross-sectional regression that tests which, if any, of these correlations persist after controlling for other factors. Although more definitive conclusions regarding the precise causes of the jurisdictional disparities would be desirable, they would require further statistical analysis that lies outside the scope of this particular project.