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The Puzzle of the Optimal Social Composition of Neighborhoods

Yale Law & Economics Research Paper No. 337

THE TIEBOUT MODEL AT FIFTY: ESSAYS IN PUBLIC ECONOMICS IN HONOR OF WALLACE OATES, William A. Fischel, ed., Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2006

16 Pages Posted: 2 May 2006  

Robert C. Ellickson

Yale Law School

Abstract

Commentators rightly decry the excessive segregation of American neighborhoods by race and social class. If all demographic groups were randomly distributed throughout a metropolitan area, however, there would be great diversity within each neighborhood, but no diversity among them. There is much evidence that most people, including most African Americans, would object to that outcome because it would prevent households from choosing among varying social environments. Drawing in part on Robert Putnam's distinction between bonding and bridging social capital, this paper explores the perplexing normative issue of the optimal residential distribution of different social groups.

Keywords: integration, segregation, Tiebout, exclusionary zoning, clubs

JEL Classification: D71, H73, J15, R52

Suggested Citation

Ellickson, Robert C., The Puzzle of the Optimal Social Composition of Neighborhoods. Yale Law & Economics Research Paper No. 337; THE TIEBOUT MODEL AT FIFTY: ESSAYS IN PUBLIC ECONOMICS IN HONOR OF WALLACE OATES, William A. Fischel, ed., Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=899095

Robert C. Ellickson (Contact Author)

Yale Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
203-432-7033 (Phone)

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