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posted on 05.06.2019by Mahesh Somashekhar
Research often links gentrification to racial inequality. Nevertheless, scholars know surprisingly little about whether the racial composition of gentrifiers moderates the consequences of gentrification. Few quantitative studies compare the effects of gentrification across different racial groups, and those that do tend to limit their outcome of interest to housing. This paper represents perhaps the first ever large-scale assessment of the ways in which gentrifiers’ racial composition is associated with local retail development. Using data on retailers in over 500 U.S. cities between 2000 and 2010, the paper shows that retail development was significantly slower in neighborhoods gentrified by Blacks rather than Whites. Put differently, White gentrifiers gained a disproportionate amount of the retail development associated with gentrification. Scholars must acknowledge that the consequences of gentrification vary depending on the racial composition of gentrifiers, which is likely one reason why the field struggles to appropriately operationalize and measure gentrification.