NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Experienced Segregation

Susan Athey, Billy A. Ferguson, Matthew Gentzkow, Tobias Schmidt

NBER Working Paper No. 27572
Issued in July 2020
NBER Program(s):Industrial Organization, Labor Studies, Public Economics, Political Economy

We introduce a novel measure of segregation, experienced isolation, that captures individuals’ exposure to diverse others in the places they visit over the course of their days. Using Global Positioning System (GPS) data collected from smartphones, we measure experienced isolation by race. We find that the isolation individuals experience is substantially lower than standard residential isolation measures would suggest, but that experienced and residential isolation are highly correlated across cities. Experienced isolation is lower relative to residential isolation in denser, wealthier, more educated cities with high levels of public transit use, and is also negatively correlated with income mobility.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27572

 
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