Xu, W. "Where did Redlining Matter?: Regional Heterogeneity and the Uneven Distribution of Advantage" (accepted in Annals of the American Association of Geographers)
This article analyses the regional variation in outcomes of a seemingly standardized federal neighborhood valuation principle used in home mortgage insurance grading. The objective is to highlight the contingent discriminatory and economic conditions that mediated heterogeneous housing outcomes across different parts of the United States. How did city and regional economic and demographic growth patterns vary before and during the mortgage insurance program implemented through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)? How may this have shaped loan guarantee patterns? How does pre-existing racial housing discrimination relate to outcomes? Adopting an orientation that centers on Whiteness and the benefits of mortgage finance for certain groups and neighborhoods, this analysis uses a Bayesian hierarchical framework to investigate the degree of the FHA’s influence between 1940 and 1970, here proxied by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation maps, on A or B (“AB”) graded neighborhoods versus C graded neighborhoods in different cities. This article studies how home values and homeownership changes over time and whether there regional variation in the influence of these grades. It also studies what longitudinal socioeconomic patterns might explain the persistence or decline of the AB effect over time. Findings show cities in the West Coast, Southwest, and Northern Central United States that saw the most housing construction also had the highest proportions of FHA loans to overall dwelling units. There is also a distinctive consistency and persistence of benefit on home value and homeownership to AB graded neighborhoods in these cities, possibly owing to regional shifts in the industrial landscape.