Was Postwar Suburbanization "White Flight"? Evidence from the Black Migration

39 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2007 Last revised: 5 Jul 2010

See all articles by Leah Platt Boustan

Leah Platt Boustan

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2007

Abstract

Residential segregation by jurisdiction generates disparities in public services and education. The distinctive American pattern - in which blacks live in cities and whites in suburbs - was enhanced by a large black migration from the rural South. I show that whites responded to this black influx by leaving cities and rule out an indirect effect on housing prices as a sole cause. I instrument for changes in black population by using local economic conditions to predict black migration from southern states and assigning predicted flows to northern cities according to established settlement patterns. The best causal estimates imply that each black arrival led to 2.7 white departures.

Suggested Citation

Boustan, Leah Platt, Was Postwar Suburbanization "White Flight"? Evidence from the Black Migration (October 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13543, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1024146

Leah Platt Boustan (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

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