Journal Article

Adolescent neighborhood context and young adult economic outcomes for low-income African Americans and Latinos

George Galster, Anna Santiago, Jessica Lucero and Jackie Cutsinger

in Journal of Economic Geography

Volume 16, issue 2, pages 471-503
Published in print March 2016 | ISSN: 1468-2702
Published online February 2015 | e-ISSN: 1468-2710 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jeg/lbv004
Adolescent neighborhood context and young adult economic outcomes for low-income African Americans and Latinos

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  • Education and Research Institutions
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We quantify how young adult employment and educational outcomes for low-income African Americans and Latinos relate to their adolescent neighborhood conditions. Data come from surveys of Denver Housing Authority (DHA) households who lived in public housing scattered throughout Denver County. Because DHA allocations mimic random assignment to neighborhood, this program represents a natural experiment for overcoming geographic selection bias. We use the neighborhood originally offered by DHA to instrument for neighborhood experienced during adolescence. Our control function logistic analyses found that higher percentages of foreign-born neighbors predicted higher odds of no post-secondary education and (less reliably) neither working nor attending school. Neighborhood occupational prestige predicted lower odds of young adults receiving public assistance and (less reliably) neither primarily working nor attending school. Effects differed for African Americans and Latinos. We consider potential causal processes underlying our results and suggest why they differ from those from the Moving To Opportunity demonstration.

Keywords: Neighborhood effects; employment; post-secondary education; natural experiments; instrumental variables; I24; R29; R39

Journal Article.  13731 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Education and Research Institutions ; Household Analysis ; Housing Markets, Production Analysis, and Business Location

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