Black Lives: The High Cost of Segregation

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050922-WP-Black Lives The High Cost of Segregation-Cox Cunningham Ortega and Whaley

Robynn Cox, University of Southern California
Jamein Cunningham, Cornell University
Alberto Ortega, Indiana University
Kenneth D. Whaley, University of Houston


Exploiting the arrangement of railroad tracks in northern cities, we explore the extent to which segregation impacts homicide victimization by race. Our results reveal a robust positive relationship between segregation and non-white homicide victimization. In addition, we find that the lack of public provisions is likely driving our results, as highly segregated locations generate fewer revenues and have lower public expenditures. Our findings suggest that white flight and segregation deplete the local tax base, leading to urban decay and higher crime, resulting in the loss of non-white lives.


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