Contextual advantage: A formal theory with application to American cities

Lincoln Quillian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A frequently cited model of why segregation contributes to inequality is that segregation increases the level of contextual advantage of advantaged segregated groups and the level of contextual disadvantage of disadvantaged segregated groups. This paper provides a formal demographic model of this process. The model begins with two groups that differ along a dimension of average advantage and disadvantage, for instance, two racial groups that differ in their poverty rates. The model illustrates how the contextual advantages and disadvantages from segregation are affected by a series of demographic conditions: group relative size, group advantage-disadvantage rates, group effects on advantage-disadvantage rates of nongroup neighbors, and advantage-disadvantage effects on group contact. The paper outlines a series of eleven conclusions from the theoretical model and applies the theoretical model to understanding racial segregation effects on racial group neighborhood poverty contact in American cities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-169
Number of pages18
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2017


  • Neighborhoods
  • Poverty
  • Racial inequality
  • Segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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