Collective Action, White Flight, and the Origins of Formal Segregation Laws

51 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2017

See all articles by Werner Troesken

Werner Troesken

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Randall Walsh

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2017

Abstract

This paper develops and tests a simple model to explain the origins of municipal segregation ordinances. Passed by cities between 1909 and 1917, these ordinances prohibited members of the majority racial group on a given city block from selling or renting property to members of another racial group. Our results suggest that prior to these laws cities had created and sustained residential segregation through private norms and vigilante activity. Only when these private arrangements began to break down during the early 1900s did whites start lobbying municipal governments for segregation ordinances.

Suggested Citation

Troesken, Werner and Walsh, Randall, Collective Action, White Flight, and the Origins of Formal Segregation Laws (August 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23691. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3023091

Werner Troesken (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Randall Walsh

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4901 Wesley Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

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