Why Housing Segregation is a Solvable Problem

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

The Jacob Marschak Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Mathematics in the Behavioral Sciences at UCLA

Speaker: Richard Sander, Dukeminier Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA

Although racial inequality is probably more salient now in our public discourse than at any time since the 1960s, there is remarkably little concrete discussion of how to address it. Richard Sander will argue in this talk that the most practical, just, and cost-effective solutions to black/white inequality lie in pursuing housing desegregation.

Over the past twenty years, and especially in the past few years, scholars have started to notice that levels of black-white housing segregation have become fairly heterogeneous across U.S. metropolitan areas. This has led to two lines of research. In one, scholars have found that lower segregation is highly correlated with a sharp narrowing of racial disparities in a host of areas. The black-white mortality gap, for example, is two-thirds smaller in moderate-segregation urban areas, compared to high-segregation areas; the unemployment gap is roughly two-thirds smaller as well. To the extent we can identify a casual path, lower housing segregation seems to substantially narrow disparities.

The second line of research--and most of the talk--examines why some urban areas have desegregated dramatically more than others. Here, the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968 was a key inflection point. Housing discrimination fell, and this was a necessary but not sufficient condition for segregation to fall at the metropolitan level. By understanding how the path to desegregation fall into place, we can devise policies and programs that can help the highly segregated urban areas to get on the same path.

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Sander is an economist and law professor, and director of the UCLA-RAND Center for Law & Public Policy. He earned BA, JD, and Ph.D. degress at Harvard and Northwestern, and specializes in interdisciplinary research on racial inequality. He is the leader of the Integration Moonshot Initiative, a past president of the Fair Housing Congress of Southern California, and vice-chair of the Inclusivity Institute.

Light refreshments will be served. Please rsvp here.

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