Neighbourhood Effects Research at a Crossroads: Ten Challenges for Future Research

16 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2012

See all articles by Maarten van Ham

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

David Manley

University of St. Andrews

Abstract

Neighbourhood effects research is at a crossroads since current theoretical and empirical approaches do not seem to be moving the debate forward. In this paper, we present a set of ten challenges as a basis for a new research agenda which will give new direction to the neighbourhood effects debate. The ten challenges are: 1) Future work should concentrate on explaining what is in the "black-box" of the 'neighbourhood effect' by deriving and testing clear hypotheses on causal neighbourhood effect mechanisms; 2) Studies should explicitly investigate the relationship between neighbourhood context and individual outcomes; 3) Alternative outcome variables such as subjective well-being should be considered; 4) We should move away from point-in-time measures of neighbourhood characteristics and take into account people's neighbourhood histories; 5) More attention is needed for the intergenerational transmission of neighbourhood effects; 6) We need to understand neighbourhood selection and to incorporate neighbourhood selection explicitly in models of neighbourhood effects; 7) We need a better operationalization of neighbourhood; 8) Neighbourhood effects researchers need to broaden their horizon to include other spatial contexts which might matter, in addition, or in place of the residential neighbourhood; 9) We need bespoke data to investigate neighbourhood effects; 10) The tenth and final challenge is to combine qualitative and quantitative methods into one research design.

Keywords: theory, causality, challenges, neighbourhood effects, bespoke data

JEL Classification: I30, R23

Suggested Citation

van Ham, Maarten and Manley, David, Neighbourhood Effects Research at a Crossroads: Ten Challenges for Future Research. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6793. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2157935

Maarten Van Ham (Contact Author)

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

David Manley

University of St. Andrews ( email )

North St
Saint Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ
United Kingdom

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