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Towards Conceptualizing and Empirically Examining Legacy of Place: An Exploratory Consideration of Historic Neighborhood Characteristics on Contemporary Dropout Behavior

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The study presented here has two main purposes. First, we introduce a novel conceptualization of neighborhood effects that includes historical characteristics of place as independent influencers on individual outcomes. Second, we provide two empirical examples of this concept by analyzing the influence that historic neighborhood dropout and poverty rates have on contemporary dropout behavior. Using multilevel logistic models, we find that students living in neighborhoods marked with a dropout or poverty legacy are over 16% more likely to drop out compared to students living outside of these areas. The influence of legacy of place remains even when controlling for contemporary neighborhood attributes including current dropout and poverty rates. The findings set the stage for future conceptual and empirical work that considers the historical development of place as it relates to the impact that these histories have for contemporary individuals. Link to article: http://bit.ly/LegacyofPlace
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ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Towards Conceptualizing and Empirically Examining
Legacy of Place: An Exploratory Consideration
of Historic Neighborhood Characteristics
on Contemporary Dropout Behavior
Matthew J. Martinez
1
P. Johnelle Sparks
2
Received: 24 May 2016 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published online: 24 January 2018
Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018
Abstract The study presented here has two main purposes. First, we introduce a
novel conceptualization of neighborhood effects that includes historical character-
istics of place as independent influencers on individual outcomes. Second, we
provide two empirical examples of this concept by analyzing the influence that
historic neighborhood dropout and poverty rates have on contemporary dropout
behavior. Using multilevel logistic models, we find that students living in neigh-
borhoods marked with a dropout or poverty legacy are over 16% more likely to
drop out compared to students living outside of these areas. The influence of legacy
of place remains even when controlling for contemporary neighborhood attributes
including current dropout and poverty rates. The findings set the stage for future
conceptual and empirical work that considers the historical development of place as
it relates to the impact that these histories have for contemporary individuals.
Keywords Legacy of place Neighborhood effects Dropout behavior
Introduction
The literature on structural inequalities documents the negative effect that
concentrated poverty and low SES can have on a host of different outcomes;
however; this literature tends to focus on neighborhood characteristics at a single
&Matthew J. Martinez
matthew.j.martinez@rice.edu
1
Houston Education Research Consortium, Rice University, 6100 Main St, MS-208, Houston,
TX 77005-1827, USA
2
Department of Demography, The University of Texas at San Antonio, 501 W Cesar E Chavez
Blvd, San Antonio, USA
123
Popul Res Policy Rev (2018) 37:419–441
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11113-018-9458-4
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... Place matters in young people's transitions, and both the historical legacy of local place and contemporary neighbourhood factors affect completion of education and dropout (Martinez & Sparks, 2018). The urban regions and neighbourhoods have primarily been in focus when researching youth transitions, while nonurban youth have received far less interest (Farrugia, 2014;Öhrn & Beach, 2019). ...
... The 'rural' as a relational space may mean different things to different people depending on the relational identities and meanings people attach to the land. In contrast to the traditional framing of place as a physical container, relational meanings have evolved, with some viewing it as a localized arena with a detached constitutive history and meaning on one hand, while others view it outwardly as an arena of local-global interaction with complex material flows (Cloke, 2006;Eyles, 1985;Graham and Healey, 1999;Martinez and Sparks, 2018;Woods, 2009). The latter framing has often led to the blurring of rural-urban boundaries and serves the basis for justifying material flows between the urban and rural, including the movement of urban waste to rural areas for disposal. ...
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Researchers interested in neighborhood effects face many methodological challenges, including, among others, the unobserved selection into neighborhoods that might be associated with the outcome under study, the identification of endogenous effects, or the dependence of results on a neighborhood’s spatial scale. However, another issue has received little attention. Though theoretical explanations commonly stress the interdependence of individual actions in neighborhoods and the spatial diffusion processes between neighbors, the quantitative methods used to evaluate these approaches usually do not directly model such spillover and multiplier effects from one observation to another. Instead, they control for the resulting spatial correlation; for example, by means of multilevel models. Using spatial weights matrices that reflect the extent to which individual neighbors mutually influence each other, this article demonstrates how spatial econometrics are a means for the simultaneous modeling of different mechanisms of neighborhood effects. It further demonstrates how spatial Durbin models reproduce results from multilevel and instrumental variable models without the need to rely on aggregated characteristics of predefined neighborhoods.
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"The Truly Disadvantagedshould spur critical thinking in many quarters about the causes and possible remedies for inner city poverty. As policy makers grapple with the problems of an enlarged underclass they—as well as community leaders and all concerned Americans of all races—would be advised to examine Mr. Wilson's incisive analysis."—Robert Greenstein,New York Times Book Review "'Must reading' for civil-rights leaders, leaders of advocacy organizations for the poor, and for elected officials in our major urban centers."—Bernard C. Watson,Journal of Negro Education "Required reading for anyone, presidential candidate or private citizen, who really wants to address the growing plight of the black urban underclass."—David J. Garrow,Washington Post Book World Selected by the editors of theNew York Times Book Reviewas one of the sixteen best books of 1987. Winner of the 1988 C. Wright Mills Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.
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