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Local Ethnic Composition and Natives’ and Immigrants’ Geographic Mobility in France, 1982–1999

01 Feb 2014-American Sociological Review (SAGE Publications)-Vol. 79, Iss: 1, pp 43-64

AbstractThis article provides empirical results on patterns of native and immigrant geographic mobility in France. Using longitudinal data, we measure mobility from one French municipality (commune) to another over time and estimate the effect of the initial municipality’s ethnic composition on the probability of moving out. These data allow us to use panel techniques to correct for biases related to selection based on geographic and individual unobservables. Our findings tend to discredit the hypothesis of a “white flight” pattern in residential mobility dynamics in France. Some evidence does show ethnic avoidance mechanisms in natives’ relocating. We also find a strong negative and highly robust effect of co-ethnics’ presence on immigrants’ geographic mobility.

Topics: Geographic mobility (60%)

Summary (3 min read)

Introduction

  • Studies of ethnicity have lacked scientific and political legitimacy for decades in France, but French urban sociology is increasingly concerned with this issue.
  • During the 2005 riots, black and Arab youth in the French suburbs were primarily depicted in violent images.
  • This debate has lacked evidence regarding the extent to which neighborhood ethnic characteristics are driving geographic mobility.
  • The authors seek to describe natives’ and immigrants’2 geographic mobility in France, as well as how these groups react to neighborhoods’ ethnic compositions.

Keywords

  • Geographic mobility, white flight, ethnic clustering, ethnic preferences, contextual variables individual and geographic unobserved characteristics on mobility, thus enhancing confidence in their estimates.
  • Findings show very little support for “French white flight” in outmigration but some support for avoidance patterns in relocating.
  • On the other hand, the authors find the ethnic clustering pattern to be highly robust.

IN SEARCh oF WhItE FLIGht

  • Classical sociologists depict geographic mobility as the channel through which ethnic segregation can lose ground (Duncan and Lieberson 1959; Park and Burgess 1921).
  • Much work supports the idea that, after Jim Crow and with the upheaval of anti-discrimination laws, segregation has been sustained by whites’ unwillingness to remain in neighborhoods with large and growing ethnic minority populations.
  • The dominant discourse about the lower level of ethnic and racial segregation in France compared to the United States builds on a general acceptance that U.S. society generates more social inequality due to lower redistribution (Brandolini and Smeeding 2006).
  • It is not strictly correct to speak of white flight when using French data, because some ethnic minority populations are natives and cannot be distinguished from “non-ethnic French” in the census.

DAtA

  • The authors data were extracted from a large French longitudinal database called Echantillon Démographique Permanent (EDP).
  • The EDP is constructed through simple individual sampling: it includes individuals born on certain days of the year (4 out of 365 days, around 1 percent of the population) and for whom a census form or civil status certificate issued upon a major demographic event in the individual’s life (e.g., birth, marriage, death, or childbirth) is available.
  • Nevertheless, use of the municipality level is relevant to analysis of contextual effects on geographic mobility for several reasons.
  • Second, immigrants’ share is positively correlated with commune size: the proportion of immigrants is more than three times higher in communes of more than 10,000 inhabitants compared to communes of fewer than 10,000 inhabitants.
  • The most noticeable disparities concern the total proportion of table 1. Description of French Communes in 1990 Unit: Commune Unit: Individual All Sizes Less than 10,000 inh.

Isolating the Causal Effect of Local Ethnic Composition

  • A frequent concern regarding the use of aggregated contextual variables is related to nonrandom sorting into geographic units.
  • This selection may lead to considerable estimation biases, among which the authors distinguish two sources.
  • Some unobserved determinants may still affect mobility.
  • The binary outcome Y is equal to one if the individual moved during the period.
  • The authors include other covariates to control for observable and unobservable heterogeneity: Z represents local contextual variables; X individual variables; and μ individual, time, and geographic effects.

Measurement Error

  • There are three reasons why measurement error may be an issue in their study.
  • First, the main covariates of interest are proportions of immigrants, and some municipalities may have few immigrants.
  • Second, the authors computed these proportions using a one-fourth extract of the censuses, because detailed information on immigrants’ country of origin is not available on an exhaustive basis.
  • Finally, French municipalities are rather small (more than 20,000 of the 36,600 municipalities have fewer than 500 inhabitants).
  • Small municipalities’ coefficients are likely to be biased downward, but their sign can still be informative.

Autocorrelation within Units

  • Estimating effects of aggregate variables on micro-units may lead to severely biased results.
  • Moulton (1990) stresses that, when a multi-level analysis is carried out, one must account for the cluster structure of the variancecovariance.
  • Omitting the relevant cluster structure will likely lead to downward-biased standard errors for the coefficient relating to contextual covariates: estimates will too often appear significantly different from zero when they are not.
  • This issue is dealt with by relaxing the assumption that the error terms of two observations belonging to the same municipality are not correlated.
  • Adjusting the variance-covariance matrix to account for this cluster structure is enough to recover unbiased inference.

FINDINGS

  • A binary logit model shows a significant effect of local proportions of immigrants for both natives and immigrants (see Table 2).
  • Undeclared without children Models 1 and 2 introduce only geographic heterogeneity, yet their data lend themselves to the additional control for individual heterogeneity.

Differences across Groups?

  • Table 4’s first panel reports interaction effects for the share of immigrants and the share of co-ethnics with individual occupation (managers, blue collar, and other); interactions with age are displayed in the second panel (younger than 55 years and older than 55).
  • Each interaction effect is incorporated successively into Model 1 (Table 3).
  • They also suggest that the effect of ethnic preferences on the decision to move is activated only when family or labor-related constraints are reduced.
  • The authors test for different effects across immigrant groups and they consistently find a nonsignificant white flight and a sizeable ethnic clustering effect in all regressions.

Geographic Definition of Residential Mobility

  • In the analyses presented earlier, the effect of municipalities’ ethnic composition is measured only for individual moves between municipalities.
  • The second column uses a tobit model in which the first equation models the propensity to move out of the municipality, and the second equation models the distance between the origin and destination municipalities for the individual who moved.
  • It remains possible, however, that some native flight dynamics are at play at a smaller contextual scale, namely for moves within communes.
  • On the other hand, all models in Table 5 show that the ethnic clustering effect is very robust to changes in the definition of mobility.
  • This suggests that immigrants’ within-commune moves tend to be frequent in communes where the share of their coethnics is large, most likely because immigrants relocate even closer to their co-ethnics.

Ethnic Avoidance in Relocation Decisions

  • The white flight paradigm supposes that a neighborhood’s ethnic composition acts like a push factor for the white population’s mobility.
  • In that case, the authors should observe a very small or even nonsignificant ethnic composition effect on the probability of fleeing, whereas the same effect would be determinant upon relocating.
  • To test for a potential relocating effect, the authors ran an aggregate model11 that counts, for each commune, the number of natives and the number of immigrants entering the commune in 1990 and 1999.
  • Nonetheless, these findings suffer from their aggregated nature and do not lend themselves to interpretation in terms of individual choice.

DISCuSSIoN AND CoNCLuSIoNS

  • This article is one of the first to measure effects of local ethnic composition on native and immigrant geographic mobility in France.
  • Anti-immigrant sentiments experienced a steady rise during the period covered by their data.
  • These results put into perspective attempts to empirically detect white flight in quantitative data on individuals’ place of residence.
  • Glikman and Semyonov’s (2012) comparative study shows, for example, that although preferences for ethnic neighbors explain a considerable share of Asians’ concentration in European cities, perceived discrimination is a more influential factor underlying Muslim and African immigrants’ segregation.
  • Segregation of nonEuropean immigrants in public housing has increased to such an extent that only in such neighborhoods can one find substantially more immigrants than natives (Barou 2002).

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American Sociological Review
2014, Vol. 79(1) 43 –64
© American Sociological
Association 2013
DOI: 10.1177/0003122413514750
http://asr.sagepub.com
Studies of ethnicity have lacked scientific and
political legitimacy for decades in France, but
French urban sociology is increasingly con-
cerned with this issue.
1
During the 2005 riots,
black and Arab youth in the French suburbs
were primarily depicted in violent images.
The media and some politicians linked the
riots to immigrants’ failed assimilation and
the rise of communitarianism in France. At
the same time, scholars are increasingly using
ghettoization terminology, usually regarded
as specific to the U.S. context, to describe
French urban dynamics. This debate has
lacked evidence regarding the extent to which
neighborhood ethnic characteristics are driv-
ing geographic mobility.
We seek to describe natives’ and immi-
grants’
2
geographic mobility in France, as
well as how these groups react to neighbor-
hoods’ ethnic compositions. We build on U.S.
literature concerning the effect of ethnic pref-
erences on mobility for whites and minorities
and discuss its relevance for France. Our
empirical analyses rely on unique data that
combine longitudinal individual information
on geographic mobility with contextual
aggregated socioeconomic and ethnic charac-
teristics of residential areas. This panel data
structure allows us to control for effects of
514750ASRXXX10.1177/0003122413514750American Sociological ReviewRathelot and Safi
2013
a
CREST
b
Sciences Po
Corresponding Author:
Mirna Safi, Sciences Po. OSC, 27 rue Saint-
Guillaume, 75337 PARIS Cedex 07, France
E-mail: mirna.safi@sciencespo.fr
Local Ethnic Composition
and Natives’ and Immigrants’
Geographic Mobility in France,
1982–1999
Roland Rathelot
a
and Mirna Safi
b
Abstract
This article provides empirical results on patterns of native and immigrant geographic mobility
in France. Using longitudinal data, we measure mobility from one French municipality
(commune) to another over time and estimate the effect of the initial municipality’s ethnic
composition on the probability of moving out. These data allow us to use panel techniques to
correct for biases related to selection based on geographic and individual unobservables. Our
findings tend to discredit the hypothesis of a “white flight” pattern in residential mobility
dynamics in France. Some evidence does show ethnic avoidance mechanisms in natives’
relocating. We also find a strong negative and highly robust effect of co-ethnics’ presence on
immigrants’ geographic mobility.
Keywords
geographic mobility, white flight, ethnic clustering, ethnic preferences, contextual variables

44 American Sociological Review 79(1)
individual and geographic unobserved char-
acteristics on mobility, thus enhancing confi-
dence in our estimates. Findings show very
little support for “French white flight” in out-
migration but some support for avoidance
patterns in relocating. On the other hand, we
find the ethnic clustering pattern to be highly
robust.
IN SEARCH OF WHITE FLIGHT
Classical sociologists depict geographic
mobility as the channel through which ethnic
segregation can lose ground (Duncan and
Lieberson 1959; Park and Burgess 1921).
Geographic mobility is thus seen as a sign—
or an outcome—of the assimilation process
(Massey and Denton 1985; South, Crowder,
and Chavez 2005). Studies on patterns and
trends of segregation in the United States
emphasize the limitations of this framework,
especially for African Americans (Iceland and
Scopilliti 2008; Massey and Denton 1993).
The very slow decrease in racial segregation
after the Civil Rights Act shifted focus to the
white population’s behavior. Much work sup-
ports the idea that, after Jim Crow and with
the upheaval of anti-discrimination laws, seg-
regation has been sustained by whites’ unwill-
ingness to remain in neighborhoods with
large and growing ethnic minority popula-
tions. Scholars have documented white flight
over more than three decades in the United
States (Farley et al. 1978; Galster 1990;
Massey, Gross, and Shibuya 1994; South and
Crowder 1998). Some studies have also
attempted to directly measure natives’ out-
migration as a response to minority influx in
their residential areas (Boustan 2010; Card
and DiNardo 2000; Frey 1995; Kritz and
Gurak 2001; White and Liang 1998). In these
studies, scholars have attempted to account
for the possibility that whites’ out-migration
may not be motivated by the presence of eth-
nic minorities (or their growing number) per
se, but rather by the poor socioeconomic
conditions (e.g., employment opportunities,
safety conditions, and social interactions) of
the neighborhoods in which minorities are (or
become) overrepresented (Frey 1979).
3
For
example, research shows that school choice is
a significant component of whites’ decisions
to out-migrate (Fairlie and Resch 2002;
Renzulli and Evans 2005).
U.S. scholars typically assume that empiri-
cal findings supporting white flight demon-
strate the persistence of racial prejudice
among whites (Farley et al. 1994; Yinger
1976). Studies on subjective preferences
toward neighborhood ethnic and racial com-
position tend to show patterns consistent with
this hypothesis (Bobo and Zubrinsky 1996;
Charles 2003). However, none of these stud-
ies were conducted on white movers, nor
asked them to what extent the ethnic compo-
sition of their initial neighborhoods prompted
them to move. Krysan’s (2002) study is one
of the rare investigations of the motivations
of whites who said they would leave inte-
grated neighborhoods; it provides some evi-
dence of negative racial stereotypes.
The only quantitative findings on French
attitudes toward minority populations show
high prejudice toward post-colonial migration
and specifically North Africans (Girard 1971;
Lamy, Charbit, and Girard 1974). More
recently, comparative studies document
increasing anti-immigrant attitudes in Euro-
pean countries, including France (Malchow-
Møller et al. 2009; Quillian 1995; Semyonov,
Raijman, and Gorodzeisky 2006). High pro-
portions of right-wing extremism since the
1980s also point toward the prominence of
ethnoracial prejudice (Mayer 2002). Finally,
the Commission Nationale Consultative des
Droits de l’Homme regularly publishes opin-
ion survey results on racism and prejudice in
French society.
None of these studies document prefer-
ences in terms of neighborhood ethnic com-
position. Using the European Social Survey
(ESS), one of the rare datasets containing
information on neighborhood preferences,
Semyonov, Glikman, and Krysan (2007)
show that the French, and more generally
Europeans, tend to live in ethnically homoge-
neous neighborhoods and overwhelmingly
report they wish to reside in areas without

Rathelot and Safi 45
ethnic minorities. The authors also show that
in addition to socioeconomic predictors of
these preferences, racial prejudice measured
by a set of social psychological variables
holds consistent explanatory power. They
thus conclude that whites’ patterns of avoid-
ance of ethnic minorities are similar in Europe
and the United States. Preferences in terms of
ethnoracial neighborhood composition may
thus shape French natives’ residential strate-
gies and would lead us to expect avoidance
dynamics resembling white flight patterns in
the United States. In particular, some research
suggests the educational dimension of anti-
immigrant flight is substantial in France spe-
cifically because school choice is often
limited to the location of residence and the
presence of immigrants’ children in class-
rooms is usually associated with lower qual-
ity education (Oberti 2007; van Zanten 2001).
Other research shows a high correlation
between neighborhood ethnic composition
and perceptions of safety in European coun-
tries; sense of safety is lowest among Europe-
ans residing in neighborhoods populated
mostly by ethnic minorities (Semyonov,
Gorodzeisky, and Glikman 2012). These find-
ings suggest anti-immigrant flight might also
be driven by fear of crime due to stereotypes
associating immigration with insecurity.
On the other hand, even if stereotypes and
prejudice about minority populations are
widespread and affect neighborhood prefer-
ences, this does not necessarily mean that
white flight patterns would be observed in
France. According to Schelling (1969), indi-
vidual preferences are only activated once a
threshold is reached. This idea has led schol-
ars to attempt to measure the tipping point of
whites’ tolerance toward their black neigh-
bors (Card, Mas, and Rothstein 2008; Clark
1991). The literature highlights that these
tipping points are related to urban and popu-
lation structures that may differ across coun-
tries and even within cities in a given country.
Such factors as population size, proportion of
each minority group, total minority popula-
tion size, and level of spatial segregation can
affect the point at which local tipping points
are reached. Many urban geographers
and sociologists argue that for historical and
geographic reasons, the configuration of cit-
ies is different in Europe and the United
States (Peach 1996, 1999; Wacquant 1992).
The dominant discourse about the lower
level of ethnic and racial segregation in
France compared to the United States builds
on a general acceptance that U.S. society gen-
erates more social inequality due to lower
redistribution (Brandolini and Smeeding
2006). The latest French research suggests
that income segregation is also lower in
France than in the United States (Guyon
2012). Some evidence, however, shows more
intense education inequality in France meas-
ured in terms of effects of social and immi-
grant backgrounds on education outcomes
(OECD 2010).
The presumably lower level of ethnic and
racial segregation in France is also linked to a
prevailing belief that, compared to the U.S.
context, ethnicity and race are less prominent
stratification factors. Due to limitations in
data availability, studies have only recently
provided information regarding the magni-
tude of ethnic segregation in France (Pan Ké
Shon 2009; Préteceille 2009; Rathelot 2012;
Safi 2009; Verdugo 2011). For example, Safi
(2009) computed dissimilarity indices for the
eight largest French cities using five subse-
quent censuses (from 1968 to 1999). In 1999,
these indices ranged from .09 (in Nice) to .31
(in Strasbourg) when computed for the whole
immigrant population, and they have
increased over time for some specific groups,
approaching .5 for Turks and sub-Saharan
Africans in some cities. Along with other
studies reporting similar findings, this
research tends to confirm that segregation is
less salient in France compared to the United
States, where black-white segregation indices
average around .65 and reach .85 in some
metropolitan areas.
4
This lower level of seg-
regation suggests that neighborhood ethnic
composition preferences may have less of an
effect on geographic mobility dynamics in
France, not necessarily because these prefer-
ences are less prominent, but rather because

46 American Sociological Review 79(1)
segregation is globally less intense and local
tipping points are rarely reached.
We rely considerably on theoretical and
empirical frameworks from U.S. research, but
the terminology must be modified when trans-
posed to the French case. It is not strictly cor-
rect to speak of white flight when using French
data, because some ethnic minority populations
are natives and cannot be distinguished from
“non-ethnic French” in the census. Rather,
what we measure in this study is more accu-
rately called “native flight.” We occasionally
use the expression “French white flight” for the
sake of comparability with the U.S. case.
ETHNIC CLUSTERING
We use the expression “ethnic clustering” to
refer to ethnic minority concentration result-
ing from complex processes that may be
linked to these populations’ residential strate-
gies and to structural constraining mecha-
nisms. By ethnic clustering, we are not
implying any particular segregation pattern
(Massey and Denton 1988) but simply
increasing proportions of minority popula-
tions in some locations.
In the United States, the white flight
framework’s underlying assumption holds
that blacks and ethnic minorities also prefer
white or integrated neighborhoods. Contest-
ing this assumption, research shows that in-
group preferences are widespread for both
majority and minority populations (Bobo and
Zubrinsky 1996; Krysan and Farley 2002;
Pais, South, and Crowder 2009; Vigdor 2003).
However, such preferences are still much
stronger among whites than among blacks
and ethnic minorities in the United States.
Most empirical studies find that blacks and
immigrants are reluctant to leave areas where
persons of their own group are concentrated
(Ihlanfeldt and Scafidi 2002; Zavodny 1999).
Moreover, some research draws attention to
the fact that ethnic groups may even seek self-
segregation because it can bring about eco-
nomic and social advantages (Aldrich and
Waldinger 1990; Borjas 1992; Logan, Alba,
and Zhang 2002; Munshi 2003; Portes 1998;
Zhou 1992).
To date, there has been little research on
minority neighborhood preferences in France.
Urban studies, however, are increasingly doc-
umenting the concentration of immigrants in
certain areas. Glikman and Semyonov (2012)
studied immigrants’ perceptions of their
neighborhoods’ ethnic and racial composition
comparing 13 countries. They found that
first- and second-generation immigrants in
Europe tend to live in neighborhoods where
ethnic and racial minorities are concentrated.
Preferences for ethnic neighborhoods partly
explain this geographic concentration, but the
authors also show that perceived discrimina-
tion is positively correlated to Africans’
and Muslims’ probability to live in ethnic
neighborhoods.
Discrimination is indeed a major structural
mechanism challenging the validity of ethnic
minorities’ self-segregation (Dawkins 2004;
Galster 1988). A considerable number of
studies in the United States document the
continuing prevalence of ethnic and racial
housing discrimination, mostly relying on
audit studies (Fix and Struyk 1993; Galster
1992). Direct and indirect discrimination
impedes ethnic minorities from locating or
relocating in some areas and thus may have
crucial effects on their geographic mobility.
Similar mechanisms may be preventing
ethnic minorities in France from desegregating
through geographic mobility. Although studies
on housing discrimination in France are still
rare, some recent findings on the extent of the
phenomenon are quite alarming (Bonnet et al.
2011). According to a study by the Haute
Autorité de Lutte contre les Discriminations et
pour l’Egalité (2006), ethnic minorities
(namely African) are only 25 percent as likely
as their paired non-ethnic French to be selected
to rent an apartment. Some measures of
reported discrimination in access to housing
also indicate high levels of ethnoracial dis-
crimination (Safi and Simon forthcoming).
Increasing housing inequality brings about
additional constraints on geographic mobility
that may structurally disadvantage ethnic
minority populations, specifically because they
cannot rely on inherited resources. Barriers to
securing affordable housing severely hinder

Rathelot and Safi 47
ethnic minorities’ access to homeownership,
leading to increasing wealth inequality (Krivo
and Kaufman 2004; Oliver and Shapiro 1995).
In France, recent research reveals intensi-
fying wealth inequality and the growing role
that household income flows play in a context
where real estate prices have steadily increased
in almost every major French city (Gallot,
Leprévost, and Rougerie 2011). Although
there is still no research regarding the effect of
these dynamics on ethnic inequality, it is plau-
sible that they have sharpened ethnic housing
disadvantages at the individual level and
intensified economic disparities between
immigrant and native neighborhoods.
These studies show that interpreting the
concentration of minority populations as a
conscious ethnic locational strategy under-
states the fact that structural economic and
institutional factors, as well as direct and
indirect mechanisms of housing discrimina-
tion, may also lead to a form of imposed
segregation. The aim of this article is to
investigate causal links between local ethnic
composition and immigrants’ and natives’
geographic mobility in France. Our review of
the literature highlights two hypotheses. First,
the high level of hostility to immigration,
combined with an increase in ethnic segrega-
tion and the growing relevance of ethnora-
cially motivated locational decisions, leads us
to expect French white flight.
Hypothesis 1: Natives’ out-mobility increases
with the local share of immigrants.
On the other hand, preferences for co-ethnic
neighbors, housing discrimination, and struc-
tural factors in the housing market suggest a
possible statistical association between immi-
grants’ residential mobility and their neigh-
borhoods’ ethnic composition.
Hypothesis 2: Immigrants’ out-mobility decreases
with the local share of their co-ethnics.
A considerable body of French urban research
would contest these hypotheses, arguing that
levels of segregation are low in France and
that ethnicity and race are less potent factors
in the French social stratification structure
than in the United States. This article pro-
vides an empirical test of these hypotheses.
DATA
Our data were extracted from a large French
longitudinal database called Echantillon
Démographique Permanent (EDP). The EDP
was created by the French National Institute of
Statistics (INSEE) in 1967 as a longitudinal
dataset to link successive censuses as well as
various events reported in registration data (e.g.,
births, deaths, and marriages). The EDP cur-
rently contains data from the 1968, 1975, 1982,
1990, and 1999 population censuses. The EDP
is constructed through simple individual sam-
pling: it includes individuals born on certain
days of the year (4 out of 365 days, around 1
percent of the population) and for whom a cen-
sus form or civil status certificate issued upon a
major demographic event in the individual’s life
(e.g., birth, marriage, death, or childbirth) is
available. Whenever individuals enter the panel,
they may be tracked across the following cen-
suses if they are listed again. Sampling is thus
the same for immigrants and for natives; they
appear in the EDP as soon as they are identified,
or as soon as one of their civil status certificates
is collected.
5
The EDP is a valuable dataset for
studying immigration because it allows
researchers to deal with significant samples of
immigrants and to compare the situations of
several groups that are often underrepresented
in other surveys. Although the EDP does not
focus on ethnicity-related issues, many studies
show it is one of the most valuable empirical
sources for analyzing geographic mobility in
France (Détang-Dessendre, Goffette-Nagot, and
Piguet 2008).
We analyze geographic mobility during two
inter-census periods (1982 to 1990 and 1990 to
1999). Our sample includes only individuals
who are listed in two successive censuses
between 1982 and 1999 and for whom infor-
mation about the municipality of residence
(i.e., commune) is available.
6
If one’s resi-
dence is different in t + 1 from the one

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Cites background from "Local Ethnic Composition and Native..."

  • ...The outward migration of the U.S. middle class is justifiably termed “white flight” because it departs minority-laden urban cores to settle in white havens (Rathelot and Safi 2014)....

    [...]


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Abstract: This paper reviews the origins and definitions of social capital in the writings of Bourdieu, Loury, and Coleman, among other authors. It distinguishes four sources of social capital and examines their dynamics. Applications of the concept in the sociological literature emphasize its role in social control, in family support, and in benefits mediated by extrafamilial networks. I provide examples of each of these positive functions. Negative consequences of the same processes also deserve attention for a balanced picture of the forces at play. I review four such consequences and illustrate them with relevant examples. Recent writings on social capital have extended the concept from an individual asset to a feature of communities and even nations. The final sections describe this conceptual stretch and examine its limitations. I argue that, as shorthand for the positive consequences of sociability, social capital has a definite place in sociological theory. However, excessive extensions of the concept may j...

10,927 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: This article argues that racial segregation is crucial to explaining the emergence of the urban underclass during the 1970s. A strong interaction between rising rates of poverty and high levels of residential segregation explains where, why and in which groups the underclass arose. This argument is developed with simulations that replicate the economic conditions observed among blacks and whites in metropolitan areas during the 1970s but assume different conditions of racial and class segregation. These data show how a simple increase in the rate of minority poverty leads to a dramatic rise in the concentration of poverty when it occurs within a racially segregated city. Increases in poverty concentration are, in turn, associated with other changes in the socioeconomic character of neighborhoods, transforming them into physically deteriorated areas of high crime, poor schools, and excessive mortality where welfare-dependent, female-headed families are the norm. Thus, policies to solve the socioeconomic pr...

5,611 citations



Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: ▪ Abstract This paper assesses and synthesizes the cumulative results of a new “neighborhood-effects” literature that examines social processes related to problem behaviors and health-related outcomes. Our review identified over 40 relevant studies published in peer-reviewed journals from the mid-1990s to 2001, the take-off point for an increasing level of interest in neighborhood effects. Moving beyond traditional characteristics such as concentrated poverty, we evaluate the salience of social-interactional and institutional mechanisms hypothesized to account for neighborhood-level variations in a variety of phenomena (e.g., delinquency, violence, depression, high-risk behavior), especially among adolescents. We highlight neighborhood ties, social control, mutual trust, institutional resources, disorder, and routine activity patterns. We also discuss a set of thorny methodological problems that plague the study of neighborhood effects, with special attention to selection bias. We conclude with promising ...

3,497 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Many economic researchers have attempted to measure the effect of aggregate market or public policy variables on micro units by merging aggregate data with micro observations by industry, occupation, or geographical location, then using multiple regression or similar statistical models to measure the effect of the aggregate variable on the micro units. The methods are usually based upon the assumption of independent disturbances, which is typically not appropriate for data from populations with grouped structure. Incorrectly using ordinary least squares can lead to standard errors that are seriously biased downward. This note illustrates the danger of spurious regression from this kind of misspecification, using as an example a wage regression estimated on data for individual workers that includes in the specification aggregate regressors for characteristics of geographical states. Copyright 1990 by MIT Press.

2,784 citations


Frequently Asked Questions (2)
Q1. What are the contributions in "Local ethnic composition and natives’ and immigrants’ geographic mobility in france, 1982–1999" ?

This article provides empirical results on patterns of native and immigrant geographic mobility in France. 

Geographic categorization issues may also be at stake: because this study relies on data at the municipality level, the authors can not dismiss the possibility that some native flight dynamics might be at play at a smaller contextual scale. Their analyses suggest otherwise, however, given that their findings are not sensitive to the definition of residential mobility. Some qualitative studies suggest that subsidized housing agencies practiced ethnoracial profiling of tenants, which may partly explain the increasing pattern of ethnic segregation within public housing ( Tissot 2005 ). Middleclass natives may be able to reject the first housing offer ( partly motivated by a location ’ s ethnic composition ), but immigrant families are more likely to be desperately in need of a place to live, and thus inclined to take the first offer even if it is in the least desirable neighborhood.