‘‘Lingering effects’’ of discrimination: tracing persistence
over time in local populations
Peter A. Morrison
Published online: 26 July 2006
Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006
Abstract The broad principle that historical injustice may call for corrective remedies in
today’s world poses new and interesting challenges for applied demographers. I illustrate
applications of demographic analysis to examine how former policies and practices pro-
duced effects that persist (or linger on) among members of a contemporary population.
Such effects involve populations at different times and places and posit causal mechanisms
that can be examined and evaluated. Applying standard demographic concepts and
thinking to these issues can clarify and sharpen public understanding of whether past
experiences still matter and precisely for whom, and whether proposed corrective remedies
under the law are feasible.
Keywords Discrimination Æ Minority political participation Æ Racial segregation Æ
In this paper, I address a general issue of legal signiﬁcance that is ripe for demographic
analysis. I examine whether and how policies and practices of former times produced
effects that persist (or linger on) today, for example, by narrowing residential choices or
reducing political participation.
Lingering effects of past policies or established practices may involve populations at
different points in time and in different places. The effects may be direct or derivative.
Consider a Latino home buyer in the 1940s, whose choices were restricted to some small
portion of a city by racially restrictive covenants then in existence. That original home
Revision of paper presented at the 2003 meetings of the Population Association of America, Session 1103,
‘‘Beyond Basics: Estimating and Projecting Characteristics Other Than Age, Sex, and Race.’’
P. A. Morrison (&)
RAND, 1700 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90407, USA
Popul Res Policy Rev (2006) 25:127–139