Re-evaluating tipping and the dynamics of segregation

Authors: Bo Malmberg*, Stockholms Universitet, William A.V. Clark, University of California, Los Angeles
Topics: Urban Geography, Population Geography, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Schelling, ethnic preferences, income, house prices, segregation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Forum Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Empirical studies of Schelling models of segregation have focused on tipping point processes whereby once the minority presence in a neighborhood reaches a particular level, the white population leaves. Commonly, white flight has been identified in a number of empirical analyses including a study by Card Mas and Rothstein (2008) who found that there was strong evidence of discontinuities in white mobility flows around specific tipping points. We re-examine the nature of tipping by specifically considering the role of income in the tipping process. We show that income based sorting modifies the tendency to Schelling-like complete segregation and is consistent with observed changes in segregation patterns in Sweden. The large scale foreign born flows into Swedish cities have created migrant concentrations which are also areas of concentrated poverty. However, seemingly in contrast with intersections of poverty and ethnicity in US cities, we suggest that individuals with low income, irrespective of ethnic status (including Swedish born), are strongly sorted into these neighborhoods. We show that economic status is a central factor in migrant concentration, and that ethnic concentration is a by-product of economic segregation. While this finding does not negate the general finding that ethnic preferences create ethnic clustering, non-immigrant choices play important roles in making ethnic segregation less severe, but can, at the same time, lead to increasing socio-economic segregation.

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