An Alternative Approach to Addressing Selection Into and Out of Social Settings: Neighborhood Change and African American Children's Economic Outcomes

Patrick Sharkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article develops a method to estimate the impact of change in a particular social setting, the residential neighborhood, that is designed to address nonrandom selection into a neighborhood and nonrandom selection out of a neighborhood. Utilizing matching to confront selection into neighborhood environments and instrumental variables to confront selection out of changing neighborhoods, the method is applied to assess the effect of a decline in neighborhood concentrated disadvantage on the economic fortunes of African American children living within changing neighborhoods. Substantive findings indicate that a decline in neighborhood concentrated disadvantage during childhood leads to increases in adult earnings and income, but has no effects on educational attainment or other social outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-293
Number of pages43
JournalSociological Methods and Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 17 2012



  • instrumental variables
  • matching
  • neighborhood change
  • selection bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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