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Unpacking Neighborhood Influences on Education Outcomes: Setting the Stage for Future Research

Publication Abstract

Harding, David J., Lisa Gennetian, Christopher Winship, Lisa Sanbonmatsu, and Jeffrey Kling. 2011. "Unpacking Neighborhood Influences on Education Outcomes: Setting the Stage for Future Research." In Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children's Life Chances edited by Duncan, Greg J. and Richard Murnane. New York: Russell Sage.

We motivate future neighborhood research through a simple model that considers youth educational outcomes as a function of neighborhood context, neighborhood exposure, individual vulnerability to neighborhood effects, and non-neighborhood educational inputs -- with a focus on effect heterogeneity. Research using this approach would require three steps. First, researchers would need to shift focus away from broad theories of neighborhood effects and examine the specific mechanisms through which the characteristics of a neighborhood might affect an individual. Second, neighborhood research would need new and far more nuanced data. Third, more research designs would be needed that can unpack the causal effects, if any, of specific neighborhood characteristics as they operate through well-specified mechanisms.

Country of focus: United States.

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