Topic 6-3. Ethnic Segregation & Ghettos

Topic 6-3. Ethnic Segregation & Ghettos - Ethnic...

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Ethnic Segregation and Ghettos Alex Anas Department of Economics State University of New York at Buffalo Amherst, New York 14260 U.S.A. alexanas@buffalo.edu August 24, 2004 Prepared as a chapter for: A Companion to Urban Economics, an undergraduate reader, Blackwell publishers. Richard Arnott and Daniel McMillen, editors. ABSTRACT Throughout history cities have contained separate areas where ethnic groups are concentrated. In the U.S. many older cities in the Northeast and Midwest contain large African-American ghettos. We discuss the causes and consequences of ethnic and racial segregation. We identify differences between voluntary and involuntary ghettos and we understand them using agglomeration economies, positive and negative externalities, bid rent theory, land and labor markets. We show that sharply segregated urban land use patterns can be socially efficient or inefficient depending on the nature of preferences and the externalities. Exclusionary policies often capture the economic efficiency. We observe a bewildering variety of political and public policy responses to segregation in Brazil, Cyprus, Europe, India, Israel, South Africa and the United States. 1. Introduction In The Republic , Socrates describes income segregation in the ancient Greek polis and prescribes policy: “For, indeed any city, however small, is in fact divided into two, one the city of the poor the other of the rich; these are at war with one another; and in either there are many smaller divisions, and you would be altogether beside the mark if you treated them as a single State. But if you deal with them as many, and give the wealth or power or persons of the one to the other, you will always have a great many friends and not many enemies.” (Jowett, pages 137-138) In ancient Rome integration of the rich (the patricians) and the poor (the plebeians) was apparently enforced by urban design: “First of all is the close juxtaposition of the houses of the wealthy and the single- room high-rise apartment dwellings of the poor. As this and many other plan fragments show, there was no significant economic segregation in Rome… …In our present example of imperial Rome, it is interesting to consider the reality of close physical mixing of social classes against the literary image of the distinct separation of those classes in many social practices.” (Reynolds (1997), page 16).
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Although segregation by income need not imply ethnic segregation, the two are correlated and evidence of this abounds from later periods. For example, in Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire for eleven centuries and the world’s largest city for a long time, the majority of the population was Hellenic but certain areas were settled by European traders and Jews. After the conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, and Levantines dominated parts of the city and were wealthier and higher taxed than the ruling Turks.
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Topic 6-3. Ethnic Segregation & Ghettos - Ethnic...

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