Using bayesian methods to control for spatial autocorrelation environmental justice research: An illustration using toxics release inventory data for a sunbelt county

Yongwan Chun, Yushim Kim, Heather Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many previous environmental justice (EJ) studies have argued that there is disproportionate collocation of environmental disamenities with racial and ethnic minorities, even holding constant other factors such as income and political action. However, most of the EJ studies do not account for the presence of spatial autocorrelation, especially those that also include nonnormal distributions. Using the location of new Toxics Release Inventory facilities (TRIFs) Maricopa County, Arizona the 1990s, we illustrate a finding of spatial autocorrelation and the use of Bayesian spatial models to accommodate the issue. The results show that the relationship between Asian minority status a census tract and new TRIF establishments found with regression models does not remastatistically significant once spatial autocorrelation is accounted for. Instead, three variables, the percentage of American Indians the tract, population density, and the percentage of residents aged 55-74, statistically significantly explained new TRIF establishments. This illustrates that failure to control for spatial autocorrelation can lead to incorrect policy understanding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-439
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

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