Location Matters: Historical Racial Segregation and Intergenerational Mobility

Posted: 10 Dec 2017

See all articles by Rodney Andrews

Rodney Andrews

University of Texas at Dallas

Marcus D. Casey

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics

Bradley Hardy

American University

Trevon Logan

Ohio State University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

This paper explores historical patterns of racial segregation and its relationship with the observed spatial variation in contemporaneous economic mobility established in Chetty et al. (2014). We combined data from the Equality of Opportunity Project with a novel measure of racial segregation developed in Logan and Parman (forthcoming) and find that past racial segregation explains a significant portion of the spatial variation in intergenerational mobility. These findings are consistent with models showing that persistent institutional factors may drive long-term outcomes across areas. Racial segregation and the environment that fosters it may diminish upward economic mobility by reducing access to networks, labor and capital markets, and political institutions. If so, then reducing the impact of these persistent processes may be key to mitigating current-day gaps in wealth, income, and overall well-being.

Keywords: Intergenerational economic mobility, Historical racial segregation, Economic history

JEL Classification: I3, J62, J1, J15, J68, N3

Suggested Citation

Andrews, Rodney and Casey, Marcus D. and Hardy, Bradley and Logan, Trevon, Location Matters: Historical Racial Segregation and Intergenerational Mobility (2017). Economics Letters, Vol. 158, September 2017; American University School of Public Affairs Research Paper No. 3085352. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3085352

Rodney Andrews

University of Texas at Dallas ( email )

Marcus D. Casey

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics ( email )

Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Bradley Hardy (Contact Author)

American University ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

Trevon Logan

Ohio State University ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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