Ethnographic Evidence, Heterogeneity, and Neighbourhood Effects After Moving to Opportunity

Chapter

Abstract

Neighbourhood effects research is at a crossroads. After decades of qualitative and quantitative empirical studies aiming to determine how much neighbourhoods affect life chances, we seem nowhere near a coherent answer. This chapter identifies three concerns from the literature. Firstly, most quantitative empirical studies into neighbourhood effects most likely suffer from selection bias. Secondly, an entire generation of researchers concerned themselves asking if neighbourhoods matter and by how much, rather than asking under what circumstances do they matter? Thirdly, there is lack of clarity concerning how much progress has been made determining which mechanisms behind neighbourhood effects matter the most. This chapter draws lessons from the current literature and by using a case study from Chicago. It is suggested that future research should expect and explain heterogeneity and needs to move away from investigating average neighbourhood effects. It is also emphasised that future work should better integrate ethnographic research into the quantitative empirical research program. Ethnographic research has the capacity to help explain the often contradictory results of previous neighbourhood effect studies, and to generate hypotheses for future studies.

Keywords

Collective Efficacy Neighbourhood Effect Ethnographic Study Ethnographic Research Poor Neighbourhood 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the University of Chicago for generous research support and Julia Burdick-Will and the editors of the volume for valuable comments on an earlier version of this paper. All errors remain our own.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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