Causes and Consequences of Segregation


Neighborhoods are important arenas of everyday encounters and activities. Using survey data and choice experiments, the project tries to reconstruct how people choose specific neighborhoods and accommodations and the therewith associated consequences in terms of social and ethnic segregation as well as neighborhood effects on different measures of life chances (e.g. income, labor market involvement, acceptance of deviant behavior, political involvement). To this end, 2’000 households in 100 small-scale neighborhoods in 4 major Swiss cities are contacted to take part in the survey (stratified random cluster sampling). Thereby, the collected, geocoded data not only allows the identification of immediate neighbors but also of the wider context of institutional neighborhoods and local labor markets. Thus, being the first study of its kind in Switzerland, the project promises to provide researchers and policy makers with the necessary data to broaden our understanding of micro- and macro-sociological, spatial processes as well as to deliver new insights on people’s living conditions and life chances in urban environments.

Collaborators: Janine Widmer (Student Research Assistant)

First descriptive results (German): Leaflet

Technical Report (German): Final Report

Bayesian Estimation of Spatial Econometric Models with Missing Data (Paper)

While working with spatial data from surveys, researchers are often confronted with a considerable amount of missing values in both dependent as well independent variables. While in the traditional, non-spatial case the problem – apart from the general loss of power – mainly consists in non-random missing patterns (i.e., the data is MAR or MNAR), listwise deletion in spatial models always introduces bias in spatial models. This is due to the fact, that omitting observations leads to a incorrectly specified weights matrix and equilibria effects. Therefore, the present paper investigates the consequences of such biases and proposes asymptotic alternatives based on MCMC simulation studies.

Paper presented in Bamberg, September 2017: Missing in Space


Experimental evaluation of the use of child care vouchers (Collaborative Project with the City of Bern)

What started as an idea for the Master students’ scientific internship for the next two semesters (Fall 15 and Spring 16) quickly became a collaborative project with the youth welfare office of the city of Bern: Who uses the newly introduced vouchers for child care (e.g., is there a social selectivity in the application to and usage of this program)? Does such a program increase labor market participation of the parents using these vouchers? How does the supply with child care vouchers relate to other, informal child care settings and what is the role of one’s social networks and social contexts in such a setting?

Using factorial survey experiments with both, parents who participate in the program and other’s who don’t (or aren’t eligible), the project tries to shed some light on the micro-level social mechanisms of such policy interventions targeting preschool children and their parents.

Collaborators: Janine Widmer (Student Research Assistant)

Technical Report (German):  Final Report