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Assessing the evidence on neighborhood effects from moving to opportunity

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  • Dionissi Aliprantis

Abstract

The interpretation of estimates from Moving to Opportunity (MTO) as neighborhood effects has created significant controversy among social scientists. This paper presents a framework that clarifies the interpretation of results from the MTO housing mobility experiment. The paper defines several neighborhood treatments and estimates their Local Average Treatment Effects (LATEs) using assigned treatment in MTO as an instrumental variable. This framework clarifies that while parameters estimated in the literature do not suffer from selection bias, selection into treatment is an inescapable issue if one seeks to learn about neighborhood effects from MTO. The LATE parameters estimated in this paper are neighborhood effects for the subgroup of MTO families who are compliers with respect to the defined treatment. In contrast, the Treatment-on-the-Treated (TOT) parameters reported in the literature are program effects. Since the subgroup of compliers for various neighborhood treatments can be considerably smaller than the subgroup induced to move by MTO, preliminary estimates indicate that LATE neighborhood effects tend to be much larger than the TOT program effects from MTO. This re-interpretation of the MTO data suggests two important conclusions related to the current understanding of neighborhood effects and programs. First, if alternative housing mobility programs were designed to induce moves to neighborhoods with characteristics other than low poverty, it is entirely feasible that such programs might induce larger effects than MTO. Second, initial LATE estimates appear to reconcile the evidence from MTO with prevailing theories of neighborhood effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 1101.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1101

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Keywords: Poverty ; Housing policy;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gregory Price, 2013. "Hurricane Katrina as an Experiment in Housing Mobility and Neighborhood Effects: Were the Relocated Poor Black Evacuees Better-Off?," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 121-143, June.
  2. Dionissi Aliprantis & Daniel Carroll, 2012. "Neighborhood dynamics and the distribution of opportunity," Working Paper 1212, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  3. Thomas A. Garrett, 2011. "A Federal Reserve System conference on research in applied microeconomics," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 455-462.
  4. Dionissi Aliprantis, 2013. "Human capital in the inner city," Working Paper 1302, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  5. Dionissi Aliprantis, 2011. "Community-Based Well Maintenance in Rural Haiti," OVE Working Papers 0611, Inter-American Development Bank, Office of Evaluation and Oversight (OVE).
  6. Dionissi Aliprantis, 2013. "Covariates and causal effects: the problem of context," Working Paper 1310, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  7. Dionissi Aliprantis & Francisca G.-C. Richter, 2012. "Local average neighborhood effects from moving to opportunity," Working Paper 1208, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  8. Matthew Klesta & Frank Manzo & Francisca G-C Richter & Mark S Sniderman, 2013. "Low-income-rental-housing programs in the Fourth District," Working Paper 1311, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

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