What Determines Neighbor Preferences across US-Resident Subgroups?

Student: Lucas Davidenco
Supervisor: Kinga Makovi

This project focuses on US residents’ preferences for their neighbors’ characteristics – a mechanism that likely shapes segregation patterns and inequality in cities. To measure preferences, we deploy a conjoint experiment fielded to a sample of about 3,000 US residents. This experiment presents respondents with a choice between two potential neighbors highlighting a variety of their attributes.

The goal of the experiment is to estimate which of these attributes influence respondents’ choices, and to what extent. For example, does a potential neighbor’s volunteering experience matter more than their immigration status when they are assessed by our respondents? Importantly, we also assess how much agreement respondents have over these preferences, and if, for example, one’s own immigration history influences these choices or not. 

The attributes that vary across our hypothetical neighbors are marital status, how many children they have, their race, citizenship status, religion, whether they come from a diverse or ethnically homogeneous neighborhood, their English language proficiency, and whether they volunteer in their free time.

This project is situated in the sociological conversation on boundaries, inclusion/exclusion, and patterns of discrimination. The involvement in this research project provides something meaningful and interesting to contribute to this literature about our understanding of inclusion and exclusion in contemporary America.