The Limits of the Neighborhood Effect: Contextual Uncertainties in Geographic, Environmental Health, and Social Science Research

Mei Po Kwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article draws on recent studies to argue that researchers need to be attentive to the limits of the neighborhood effect as conventionally understood. It highlights the complexities of contextual influences and the challenges in accurately representing and measuring individual exposures to those influences. Specifically, it discusses the idiosyncratic and multidimensional nature of contextual effects, the temporal complexities of contextual influences, the frame dependence of exposure measures, selective mobility bias, and publication bias in neighborhood effects research. It also discusses how contextual uncertainties could be mitigated in future research (e.g., through collecting and using high-resolution space–time data and moving toward frame-independent exposure measures with results that are not affected by how data are organized with respect to space and time).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1482-1490
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Volume108
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2 2018

Keywords

  • neighborhood effect
  • publication bias
  • selective mobility bias
  • uncertain geographic context problem, UGCoP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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