Was postwar suburbanization "white flight"? Evidence from the black migration

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Residential segregation by jurisdiction generates disparities in public services and education. The distinctive American pattern-in which blacks live in cities and whites in suburbs-was enhanced by a large black migration from the rural South. I show that whites responded to this black influx by leaving cities and rule out an indirect effect on housing prices as a sole cause. I instrument for changes in black population by using local economic conditions to predict black migration from southern states and assigning predicted flows to northern cities according to established settlement patterns. The best causal estimates imply that each black arrival led to 2.7 white departures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-443
Number of pages27
JournalQuarterly Journal of Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


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