Publications

  • 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.

  • Nativity Differences in Neighborhood Quality Among New York City Households, 1996

    In this paper we add to the literature on locational attainment of immigrants by focusing on a broader range of neighborhood quality indicators that has been done before and by examining the foreign-born contingent of a given ethnic group separately from the native-born contingent of that group. Specifically, we evaluate in New York City how immigrant households compare to native-born households, overall and by race and ethnicity, with respect to neighborhood characteristics such as crime, health outcomes, poverty, and unsafe housing.

  • Differences in Neighborhood Conditions Among Immigrants and Native-Born Children in New York City

    In this paper we use a specially created data set for New York City to evaluate whether the context of children’s neighborhoods varies by their immigrant status, and, if so, whether the relationship between neighborhood context and immigrant status varies by children’s race and ethnicity. Overall, when compared to native-born children, immigrant children live in neighborhoods with higher rates of teenage fertility, and higher percentages of students in local schools scoring below grade level in math and of persons receiving AFDC, but lower rates of juvenile detention. However, further comparisons revealed that race/ethnicity is by far a more potent predictor of where children live than is immigrant status per se. Specifically, we find evidence of a hierarchy of access to advantageous neighborhoods, whereby native- and foreign-born white children have access to the most-advantaged neighborhoods while native-born black children consistently live in the least-advantaged neighborhoods, as measured by our four indicators. In between these extremes, the relative ranking of foreign-born black and native- and foreign-born Hispanic children varies, depending on the measure of the neighborhood context.

  • 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.

  • Spatial Inequality and the Distribution of Industrial Toxic Releases: Evidence From the 1990 TRI

    This research investigates environmental justice activists’ claims that pollution is unevenly distributed across communities in the United States. We examine three possible explanations for environmental inequity: racial discrimination, economic stratification, and urban ecology.

  • The Impact of the Capital Markets on Real Estate Law and Practice

    Over the past twenty years, the real estate markets of the United States have been swept by enormous change. A sector of the economy that had long been resistant to change, real estate has been and is continuing to be transformed by the process of securitization on both the debt and equity side. Just twenty years ago, the vast majority of single family residential mortgage loans were provided by local banks or savings and loan associations that held the debt in their portfolios until maturity or prepayment. Today, most single family mortgage debt is sold into the secondary mortgage market and converted into securities. Ten years ago, mortgage loans for commercial properties were largely originated and held by commercial banks, pension funds or insurance companies. In recent years, with the exception of the meltdown of the commercial mortgage-backed securities market in the summer of 1998, the proportion of commercial loans that were securitized rapidly grew. Just six or seven years ago, real estate investment trusts (REITs) were commonly thought of as the investment entity that crashed and burned in the 1970s. In the last two or three years, however, REITs have increasingly come to be seen as a dominant, if not preeminent ownership vehicle in many real estate markets throughout the nation.

  • The Redevelopment of Distressed Public Housing: Early Results from HOPE VI Projects

    The redevelopment of distressed public housing under the Urban Revitalization Demonstration Program, or HOPE VI, has laudable social, physical, community, and economic goals. Three public housing projects in Atlanta, Chicago, and San Antonio demonstrate the complexity and trade-offs of trying to lessen the concentration of low-income households, leverage private resources, limit project costs, help residents achieve economic self-sufficiency, design projects that blend into the community, and ensure meaningful resident participation in project planning.