[gov3009-l] Neighborhood Poverty and Neighborhood Effects

Anders Schwartz Corr corr@fas.harvard.edu
Sun, 29 Sep 2002 23:37:07 -0400 (EDT)

`` Counterfactual Models of Neighborhood Effects: The Effect of
Neighborhood Poverty on High School Dropout and Teenage Pregnancy"

A presentation by David Harding (Harvard University, Sociology and Social

Reader: Felix Elwert

Wednesday September 2 at noon
CBRSS Rm. 22
Lunch will be served.

The paper may be accessed at:



This paper investigates the causal effect of neighborhood poverty during
adolescence on high school dropout and teenage pregnancy within a
counterfactual framework. It shows that when two groups of children who
are identical at age 10 on observed factors (including but not limited to
familiy income, mother's education, welfare receipt, and family structure)
experience different neighborhood contexts during adolescence, those who
grow up in high poverty neighborhoods are more likely to drop out of high
school and more likely to have a teenage pregnancy compared to those who
grow up in low poverty neighborhoods. Causal inferences about neighborhood
effects from results such as these have been plagued by the possibility of
selection bias. Using a method for sensitivity analysis new to sociology,
these effects are shown to be robust to selection bias. Unobserved factors
that affect both an adolescent's neighborhood context and the outcomes
would have to be unreasonably strong to fully account for the association
between neighborhood context and the outcomes examined.

The Research Workshop in Applied Statistics is a forum for graduate
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