Are Mixed Neighborhoods Always Unstable? Two-Sided and One-Sided Tipping

Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper No. GSPP10-013

30 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2010  

David Card

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Alexandre Mas

Department of Economics and Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jesse Rothstein

University of California, Berkeley, The Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy; University of California, Berkeley, College of Letters & Science, Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2008

Abstract

A great deal of urban policy depends on the possibility of creating stable, economically and racially mixed neighborhoods. Many social interaction models – including the seminal Schelling (1971) model – have the feature that the only stable equilibria are fully segregated. These models suggest that if home-buyers have preferences over their neighborhoods’ racial composition, a neighborhood with mixed racial composition is inherently unstable, in the sense that a small change in the composition sets off a dynamic process that converges to either 0% or 100% minority share. Card, Mas, and Rothstein (2008) outline an alternative “one-sided” tipping model in which neighborhoods with a minority share below a critical threshold are potentially stable, but those that exceed the threshold rapidly shift to 100% minority composition. In this paper we examine the racial dynamics of Census tracts in major metropolitan areas over the period from 1970 to 2000, focusing on the question of whether tipping is "two-sided" or "one-sided". The evidence suggests that tipping behavior is one-sided, and that neighborhoods with minority shares below the tipping point attract both white and minority residents.

Suggested Citation

Card, David and Mas, Alexandre and Rothstein, Jesse, Are Mixed Neighborhoods Always Unstable? Two-Sided and One-Sided Tipping (March 2008). Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper No. GSPP10-013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1713406 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1713406

David E. Card

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
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Germany

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

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Alexandre Mas

Department of Economics and Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Jesse Rothstein (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley, The Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy ( email )

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Berkeley, CA 94720-7320
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HOME PAGE: http://gsppi.berkeley.edu/faculty/jrothstein

University of California, Berkeley, College of Letters & Science, Department of Economics ( email )

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Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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United States

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