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Assessing cumulative neighborhood effects on adult health.

08:00 EDT 24th April 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Assessing cumulative neighborhood effects on adult health."

A straightforward technique to explore the "total effects" of neighborhoods on health outcomes is to compare the degree of similarity of outcomes of neighbors with those of non-neighbors. Several issues arise in interpreting these estimates around spatial and temporal definitions of "neighbors" and life course mobility patterns. Indeed, much work uses "cross- sectional neighbors," which makes the interpretation of the estimates unclear because they combine short-term effects (for movers) and long-term effects (for stayers). This paper contributes to the literature by assessing the importance of measuring neighbor mobility as well as neighborhood selection. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we examine the extent to which having longitudinal measures of "neighbors" shapes estimates of neighborhood effects, and also use a negative test of neighborhood effects to assess the importance of neighborhood selection. Specifically, we estimate similarity in self-rated health of adults over 30 years old who live in the same county over various periods of time and find that "cross-sectional" neighbor definitions may understate neighborhood effect estimates by as much as 35%. However, when we contrast these health estimates with contemporaneous neighborhood "effects" on completed education, we find that much of the "understated" effects on health are likely related to selection effects rather than causal effects of neighborhoods.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0213204

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