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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Polarisation, Public Housing and Racial Minorities

    Cities in the US have become home to an increasing concentration of poor households, disproportionately composed of racial and ethnic minorities. In the US, poor and minority populations are overrepresented in public housing, mostly located in central cities. Racial and ethnic minorities in American public housing are, for the most part, composed of native-born households whereas in Europe they are more likely to be foreign-born. After a description of this concentration of poor and minority populations in public housing, we examine the effect of public housing on neighbourhood poverty rates in central cities. We construct a longitudinal database (1950-90) for four large cities-Boston, Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia—and examine the relationship between the location of public housing and changes in neighborhood poverty rates. We find that in each city, one or more of the variables relating to the existence of public housing is significantly related to increases in neighbourhood poverty rates in succeeding decades.

  • 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.