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A Measure of Segregation Based on Social Interactions

Echenique, Federico and Fryer, Roland G., Jr. (2007) A Measure of Segregation Based on Social Interactions. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122 (2). pp. 441-485. ISSN 0033-5533. doi:10.1162/qjec.122.2.441.

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We develop an index of segregation based on two premises: (1) a measure of segregation should disaggregate to the level of individuals, and (2) an individual is more segregated the more segregated are the agents with whom she interacts. We present an index that satisfies (1) and (2) and that is based on agents' social interactions: the extent to which blacks interact with blacks, whites with whites, etc. We use the index to measure school and residential segregation. Using detailed data on friendship networks, we calculate levels of within-school racial segregation in a sample of U. S. schools. We also calculate residential segregation across major U. S. cities, using block-level data from the 2000 U. S. Census.

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Echenique, Federico0000-0002-1567-6770
Additional Information:© 2007 The MIT Press. We are grateful to Gary Becker, Kim Border, Fernando Borraz, Toni Calvo-Armengol, David Card, Joan Esteban, Drew Fudenberg, Edward Glaeser, Jerry Green, Faruk Gul, Oliver Hart, James Heckman, Matthew Jackson, Kevin Lang, Edward Lazear, Erzo Luttmer, Derek Neal, Jesse Shapiro, and two anonymous referees for useful comments and suggestions. We are especially grateful to Lawrence Katz, Glenn Loury, and Kevin Murphy for advice, encouragement, and detailed comments on previous drafts. We thank seminar participants at Berkeley, Boston, Brown, Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, Chicago, Harvard, McGill, NBER, Pompeu Fabra, Torcuato Di Tella, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, and Vanderbilt. Katherine Barghaus, Patricia Foo, and Alex Kaufman provided exceptional research assistance. A portion of this paper was written while Fryer was a visitor at Institut d’Anàlisi Económica at Universitat Autonoma in Barcelona, Spain. Fryer gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Alphonse Fletcher Sr. Fellowship.
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8528
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Deposited On:17 Aug 2007
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 20:51

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