Neighborhood Disadvantage and Wellbeing Across the Life Course Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Levy, Brian
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • This dissertation investigates neighborhood effects on educational, behavioral, and economic outcomes from childhood to middle adulthood. Using data from the National Longitudinal Surveys, I combine several recent methodological developments to estimate neighborhood effects that have a firmer basis for causal conclusions than past research. The first study finds that long-term residence in (dis)advantaged neighborhoods has a strong impact on wealth accumulation and is a key driver of the racial wealth gap. The second study observes that neighborhood exposures have important consequences for income at middle adulthood, especially at the top of the income distribution. Social capital in the form of job contacts is a potentially important mechanism for neighborhood effects. The third study concludes the neighborhood disadvantage has negative effects on academic achievement and educational attainment, whereas neighborhood collective efficacy reduces behavioral problems. In addition to providing stronger justification for causal conclusions and shedding new light on neighborhood effects on under-studied outcomes (e.g., wealth and college graduation), this dissertation makes several other important contributions to the sociological literature on neighborhoods. Integrating a life course perspective, I analyze neighborhood effects in adulthood, which is an under-studied period, and explore pathways for effects. I also investigate theoretically-relevant mechanisms for neighborhood effects, as well as effect heterogeneity by salient demographic characteristics.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Lauen, Douglas
  • Harris, Kathleen Mullan
  • Mouw, Ted
  • Guo, Guang
  • Crowder, Kyle
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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