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Tipping vs Churning: To what extent are tipping-point effects offset or explained by neighbourhood churn?

Galster and others have tested for tipping points in various aspects of neighbourhood effects -  i.e. it is only when poverty or ethnic mix reach a certain threshold that impacts on life outcomes, neighbourhood trajectory or white flight become apparent. There is, however, an important mitigating factor in such thresholds and that is neighbourhood instability. In neighbourhoods with a high degree of churn – perhaps because of their close proximity to employment or educational opportunities that are temporary in nature – the effect of composition in terms of ethnicity may be less important as it is lost amid the noise of residential turnover. Note that endogenous (intra-neighborhood) turnover must be distinguished somehow from exogenously induced turnover. If an increase in ethnic mix is combined with an increase in churn, the effects may be exacerbated, particularly for indigenous residents who place a high value on neighbourhood stability. And neighbourhood stability may itself be important as it reflects (and makes it more possible) long term friendships and social connections at the neighbourhood level.
There may therefore be important implications of the interaction of churn and tipping points for a variety of neighbourhood effects, including educational outcomes, social mobility, health and wellbeing, and the impact of crime. This could be a challenge to model (probably nonlinear) turnover endogenously (as a function of current neighbourhood ethnic and poverty concentration) and then model this as a mediator of neighbourhood effects.  See Galster & Hedman (2015) for a conceptual model of relationship between mobility and neighbourhood effects.

For more information about this research paper, please contact Professor Gwilym Pryce

Research Team