Neighborhood Sorting Obscures Neighborhood Effects in the Opportunity Atlas
27 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2020
Date Written: December 1, 2020
The Opportunity Atlas (OA) is an innovative data set that ranks neighborhoods according to children’s adult outcomes in several domains, including income. Conceptually, outcomes offer new evidence about neighborhood effects when measured in isolation from neighborhood sorting. This note shows that neighborhood sorting contributes to OA estimates. We document cases where small sample sizes and changes over time can explain disagreements between OA rankings and those based on contemporaneous variables. Our results suggest caution for interpretations of the OA data set at a granular level, particularly for predictions about the outcomes of black children in high-income neighborhoods.
Keywords: neighborhood sorting, neighborhood effect, Opportunity Atlas
JEL Classification: R23, C81, J15, I38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation