``Measuring and Modeling Neighborhoods.''



With the availability of granular geographical data, social scientists are increasingly interested in examining how residential neighborhoods are formed and how they influence attitudes and behavior. To facilitate such studies, we develop an easy-to-use online survey instrument that allows respondents to draw their neighborhoods on a map. We then propose a statistical model to analyze how the characteristics of respondents, relevant local areas, and their interactions shape subjective neighborhoods. The model also generates out-of-sample predictions of one's neighborhood given these observed characteristics. We illustrate the proposed methodology by conducting a survey among registered voters in Miami, New York City, and Phoenix. We find that across these cities voters are more likely to include same-race and co-partisan census blocks in their neighborhoods. Net of other factors, White respondents are 6.1 to 16.9 percentage points more likely to include in their neighborhoods a census block composed entirely of White residents compared to one with no White residents. Similarly, Democratic and Republican respondents are 8.6 to 19.2 percentage points more likely to include an entirely co-partisan census block compared to one consisting entirely of out-partisans. We also show that our model provides more accurate out-of-sample predictions than the standard distance-based measures of neighborhoods. Open-source software is available for implementing the proposed methodology. (Last Revised, October, 2021)

© Kosuke Imai
 Last modified: Sat Oct 30 11:00:13 EDT 2021