Social Mixing as a Cure for Negative Neighbourhood Effects: Evidence Based Policy or Urban Myth?

18 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2011

See all articles by David Manley

David Manley

University of St. Andrews

Maarten van Ham

Delft University of Technology - OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies; University of St. Andrews; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Joe Doherty

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

In this paper, we review the evidence base for social mixing in neighbourhoods, which is used as a strategy to tackle assumed negative neighbourhood effects. We discuss in detail the theoretical links between neighbourhood characteristics, and outcomes of individuals living in concentrations of poverty. Through this we identify the theoretical case for promoting socially mixed communities. We then review the empirical evidence base, focusing on outcomes of the American poverty deconcentration initiatives including the Moving to Opportunity and HOPE VI programs. We identify that the evidence from these programs is at best inconclusive. Turning to the European experience we identify problems associated with using observational data to assess individual outcomes in relation to their neighbourhood context. We conclude by suggesting that the evidence base for social mixing is far from robust, and that many of the current empirical papers suffer from serious analytical shortcomings. Ultimately, the process of creating more socially mixed neighbourhoods is unlikely to create more opportunities in life for the original residents. Socially mixing neighbourhoods through tenure mixing will only change the population composition of neighbourhoods, increasing average incomes because more affluent (and employed) residents will move into the owner occupied housing replacing social housing.

Keywords: neighbourhood effects, social mixing, tenure mix, evidence base, housing policy

JEL Classification: I30, J60, R23

Suggested Citation

Manley, David and van Ham, Maarten and Doherty, Joe, Social Mixing as a Cure for Negative Neighbourhood Effects: Evidence Based Policy or Urban Myth?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5634. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1812479

David Manley (Contact Author)

University of St. Andrews ( email )

North St
Saint Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ
United Kingdom

Maarten Van Ham

Delft University of Technology - OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies ( email )

P.O. Box 5043
2600 GA Delft
Netherlands
+31 15 278 2782 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.maartenvanham.nl

University of St. Andrews ( email )

North St
Saint Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Joe Doherty

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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