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Urban Inequality

63 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2008  

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government, Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Matthew Resseger

Harvard University - Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Kristina Tobio

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

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Date Written: November 10, 2008

Abstract

What impact does inequality have on metropolitan areas? Crime rates are higher in places with more inequality, and people in unequal cities are more likely to say that they are unhappy. There is also a negative association between local inequality and the growth of both income and population, once we control for the initial distribution of skills. What determines the degree of inequality across metropolitan areas? Twenty years ago, metropolitan inequality was strongly associated with poverty, but today, inequality is more strongly linked to the presence of the wealthy. Inequality in skills can explain about one third of the variation in income inequality, and that skill inequality is itself explained by historical schooling patterns and immigration. There are also substantial differences in the returns to skill, related to local concentrations in different industries, and these too are strongly correlated with inequality.

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L. and Resseger, Matthew and Tobio, Kristina, Urban Inequality (November 10, 2008). Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2168. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1299100 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1299100

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government, Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Matthew Resseger (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Faculty of Arts and Sciences ( email )

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Kristina Tobio

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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