Sep. 14th, 2012

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Two solid posts on white flight, or rather, the racial dynamics of suburban populations. The first one recaps and refines some principles I actually learned about in my Probability and Game Theory summer course when I was 14, going over a report by the Institute for Metropolitan Opportunity. It doesn't use the word "Nash equilibrium", but breaks it down in a less mathy way, and you can see where "white flight" comes in as a factor. It also talks about the politics and poverty levels of "predominantly white", "diverse", and "predominantly non-white" neighborhoods as defined by the study. Crommunist does a good job explaining the report here, and has some criticism of it.

The second post delves into the reasons for these dynamics and their mechanisms. It is, of course, far more complicated than people wanting to live in, or move into, neighborhoods of people who look like them. For one thing there is a difference in what proportions "tolerable diversity" is for white folks, and what it is for people of color. "Affirmative action for white people" comes up here, not as a legal policy of course, but as illegal discriminatory actions of real estate agents. And...well, it's very much worth reading, and is not very long. It also links through to the original report, if you want to analyze further. The final chart took me a couple minutes to read properly, but is vaguely hopeful, about what happened to neighborhoods that were "integrated" in 1980.

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