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The effect of large-scale economic development on violence and collective efficacy: a natural experiment

Mellers, Michelle (2019) The effect of large-scale economic development on violence and collective efficacy: a natural experiment. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Background: Violence continues to be one of the leading public health problems in the United States (US). Increased importance is placed in understanding how developments change the neighborhood environment particularly violence. Partnering a legally-binding community benefits agreement (CBA) with a development attempts to ensure services for local residents. We examined the link between violence and the casino opening in the North Side and CBA implementation in the Hill District within Pittsburgh, PA.
Methods: Using a difference-in-difference framework, we estimated the causal effect of changes in violence linked with an arena in conjunction with a CBA (initiated 2011) and a casino (opened 2010). The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police provided violence data for years 2005 to 2015. We gathered demographic, social, and economic covariates from the American Community Survey. We estimated the causal effect of each development using a generalized linear mixed effects model with adjustment for confounding. In 2011, we surveyed neighborhood residents to track changes in social milieu including neighborhood disorder, values, and perception. To form each outcome, we used questions concerning perceived change from five years previously. We fit adjusted models containing basic socio-demographic characteristics models using ANCOVA.
Results: In the North Side (Casino neighborhood), violence increased by 21% (Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR)=1.21; 95% CI: 1.11, 1.32) after the casino opened. In the Hill District (arena/CBA neighborhood), violence decreased by 23% (IRR=0.77, 95% CI: 0.69, 0.87) after CBA implementation. While Perceived Neighborhood Violence did not change from the opening and operation of a casino (p= 0.35) or implementation of a CBA (p = 0.66), collective efficacy was reduced of 0.69 (ß= 0.69; p= 0.02) by the casino but was not changed by the CBA (p= 0.25).
Conclusion: These studies demonstrated the development of a casino may increase crime and reduce levels of collective efficacy in communities most likely to be affected. The implementation of a CBA reduced violence but had no effect on collective efficacy or perceived neighborhood violence.
Public Health Significance: This research study demonstrated the addition of a large-economic development or a community agreement was associated with changes in social and violence characteristics within a neighborhood.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Mellers, Michellemsm76@pitt.edumsm76
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFabio,
Committee MemberTalbott, Evelyn
Committee MemberBrooks, Maria
Committee MemberGary-Webb, Tiffany
Committee MemberMendez, Dara
Date: 27 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 23 April 2019
Approval Date: 27 June 2019
Submission Date: 4 April 2019
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 159
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: large-economic development, casino, sports and entertainment arena, collective benefits agreement, violence, violent crime, socio-demographic characteristics, difference-in-difference experiment, temporal trends
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2019 14:47
Last Modified: 01 May 2024 05:15


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