Residential Segregation, Discrimination, and African-American Theater Entry During Jim Crow

46 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2015

See all articles by Ricard Gil

Ricard Gil

Queen's University (Canada) - Smith School of Business; Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School

Justin G. Marion

University of California, Santa Cruz - Division of Social Sciences

Date Written: November 23, 2015

Abstract

We examine the role of residential segregation and racial discrimination in determining the entry of movie theaters serving African-American customers in the 1950s. These theaters provided an alternative to the segregated theaters of the Jim Crow era. Consistent with preference externalities in racial and ethnic enclaves, we find that a greater degree of residential segregation leads to more African-American theater entry. Using estimates from a Bresnahan and Reiss model of theater entry, we find that this effect is due to higher variable profits in residentially segregated cities rather than lower fixed costs of entry. The effect of racial bias among whites is found to be complex. Using several measures of racial discrimination, we conclude that bias leading to a taste for segregation leads to greater entry, while more generally racial bias results in fewer theaters.

Keywords: residential segregation, discrimination, movie theaters, Jim Crow

JEL Classification: J15, J70, L10, L82, N82, R30

Suggested Citation

Gil, Ricard and Marion, Justin G., Residential Segregation, Discrimination, and African-American Theater Entry During Jim Crow (November 23, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2694691 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2694691

Ricard Gil (Contact Author)

Queen's University (Canada) - Smith School of Business ( email )

Smith School of Business - Queen's University
143 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School ( email )

100 International Drive
Baltimore, MD 21202
United States

HOME PAGE: http://carey.jhu.edu

Justin G. Marion

University of California, Santa Cruz - Division of Social Sciences ( email )

401 Engineering 2
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States
831-459-2848 (Phone)
831-459-5077 (Fax)

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