East side story: historical pollution and persistent neighborhood sorting

Stephan Heblich, Alex Trew, Yanos Zylberberg

    Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper


    Why are the east sides of formerly industrial cities often the more deprived? Using individual-level census data together with newly created historical pollution patterns derived from the locations of 5,000 industrial chimneys and an atmospheric model, we show that this results from the persistence of neighborhood sorting that ?rst emerged during the Industrial Revolution when prevailing winds blew pollution eastwards. Past pollution explains up to 20% of the observed neighborhood segregation in 2011, even though coal pollution stopped in the 1970s. A quantitative model identi?es the role of non-linearities and tipping-like dynamics underlying this persistence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationSt Andrews
    PublisherUniversity of St Andrews
    Number of pages78
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2018

    Publication series

    NameSchool of Economics and Finance Discussion Paper
    PublisherUniversity of St Andrews
    ISSN (Print)0962-4031
    ISSN (Electronic)2055-303X


    • Neighborhood sorting
    • Historical pollution
    • Deprivation
    • Persistence
    • Environmental disamenity


    Dive into the research topics of 'East side story: historical pollution and persistent neighborhood sorting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this