Law M526 - Housing Segregation, Housing Discrimination, and the Evolution of Public Policy

Richard H. Sander

Richard H. Sander

Professor of Law
B.A. Harvard, 1978
M.A. Economics, Northwestern, 1985
J.D. Northwestern, 1988
Ph.D. Economics, Northwestern, 1990
UCLA Faculty Since 1989
Course Description:

A growing body of evidence suggests that high levels of housing segregation in the U.S. are the root cause of persistent black/white gaps in mortality, employment, cognitive skills and general well-being. Over the past sixty years, the federal government has undertaken an array of distinct fair housing policies; ironically, these policies have often had substantial on-the-ground effects while leaving segregation itself largely intact. This seminar explores these issues in some depth, combining legal and policy materials with social science research. Black/white segregation is compared with the experiences of Hispanics, Asians, and low-income whites. A central goal of the seminar is to give students some exposure to the way social science research is done, how it factors into the development of policy, and how law and social science shape one another. We will read and compare relevant work by historians, sociologists, psychologists, and economists, as well as judges and legal academics.  Students will write a paper (satisfying SAW) that connects social science work with policy analysis – including, if they wish, original empirical work. Options are available for planning and other non-law students on the winter/spring quarter schedule.

Course Learning Outcomes:

This course helps students to think across disciplines.  We study the development and details of fair housing law, but we also examine the operation of the housing markets that fair housing law regulates, and the sociological and demographic mechanisms that underlie housing segregation.  Students will engage with rigorous but accessible material in each of these fields, and will learn how to make social science arguments relevant to legal analysis.  We will also closely examine a number of policy strategies and experiments to understand both the effect of policy, and to learn tools for policy evaluation.  Students will write a seminar paper over the course of the semester, developing ideas to test and receiving regular feedback from the professor as their projects evolve.

Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Richard Sander 20S 526 SEM 1 F 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM 3.0 No Yes