Empirics of strategic interdependence: The case of the racial tipping point

William Easterly

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The Schelling model of a "tipping point" in racial segregation, in which whites flee a neighborhood once a threshold of nonwhites is reached, is a canonical model of strategic interdependence. The idea of "tipping" explaining segregation is widely accepted in the academic literature and popular media. I use census tract data for metropolitan areas of the U.S. from 1970 to 2000 to test the predictions of the Schelling model and find that this particular model of strategic interaction largely fails the tests. There is more "white flight" out of neighborhoods with a high initial share of whites than out of more racially mixed neighborhoods.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number25
    JournalB.E. Journal of Macroeconomics
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 2009


    • Economic development
    • Multiple equilibria
    • Racial segregation
    • Strategic interdependence

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics


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