Residential segregation and neighborhood externalities

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning

  • Bence János Bøje-Kovács
The idea that residential areas that are socioeconomically homogenous create externalities, which in turn reproduce the area’s composition, has characterized Danish politics for several decades. However, empirical evidence of this phenomenon is sparse. This thesis investigates the dynamics and consequences of residential segregation. Overall, it explores whether and to what extent the composition of the residential social environment we are exposed to affects our behavior. Paper one investigates whether socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods function as transit stages in residents’ housing trajectories. The idea is that individuals move in when they have limited resources and move out again when their resources increase and thus reproducing the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood. The aim of paper two is to identify the impact of social interaction. In particular, it investigates whether exposure to the characteristics of one’s neighbors affects labor market outcomes. Paper three investigates whether neighborhood deprivation affects residents’ mental health while paper four aims to investigate to what extent residence-based coethnic social networks impact mental health.
The main findings of the first paper is that deprived neighborhoods function to a certain extent as a transit state. On average residents’ unemployment rates increase before they enter such neighborhoods and sharply decline two years before moving out. The results suggest that an increase in economic resources is positively associated with leaving a deprived neighborhood and hence contributes to maintaining its relative position. Paper two finds that being exposed to employed neighbors on the short-term significantly increases income and the likelihood of finding a job after the forced relocation. On the opposite, exposure to unemployed peers increases the chances to remain unemployed. Paper three finds that being exposed to a deprived neighborhood as an adult has a significant negative impact on mental health among vulnerable men. We find that, besides high percentages of people without employment and with low incomes the percentage of people with mental health problems is an important characteristic of the neighborhood, one that has a negative impact on mental health among men. Paper four suggests that that the impact of the concentration of non-Western immigrants on immigrants’ mental health is stratified within residence-based social networks that are defined by having the same spoken language. We find further that the composition of one’s own social network, such as the share of residents without attachment to the labor market and the share of residents with basic education, increases the probability of mental health problems among men.
Keywords: Deprived neighborhood, moving patterns, transit, neighborhood effects, peer effects, labor market, immigrants, mental health, prescription of psychiatric medication, quasi-random allocation, social interaction, administrative registry panel data.
ForlagDepartment of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen
StatusUdgivet - 2019

ID: 227987539