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Assessing the evidence on neighborhood effects from moving to opportunity

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  • Dionissi Aliprantis

Abstract

This paper presents a new perspective on results from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) housing mobility program. Building on recent developments in the program evaluation literature, this paper defines several treatment effect parameters and then estimates and interprets these parameters using data from MTO. The evaluation framework is used to make a clear distinction between the interpretation of Intent to Treat (ITT) and Treatment on the Treated (TOT) parameters as program effects and Local Average Treatment Effect (LATE) parameters as neighborhood effects. This distinction helps to clarify that results from MTO are only informative about a small subset of neighborhood effects of interest. Tests for instrument strength show that MTO induced large changes in neighborhood poverty rates. However, it is also shown that MTO induced remarkably little variation in many of the other neighborhood and school characteristics believed to influence outcomes and that much of this variation was confined to the tails of these characteristics' national distributions. Consistent with prevailing theories of neighborhood effects, labor market and health outcomes improved when households moved to neighborhoods with characteristics at or above the national median. The evidence suggests housing mobility programs designed to induce moves to neighborhoods with characteristics in addition to or in lieu of low poverty might induce larger effects than MTO, and results point to the investigation of heterogeneity in program effects from MTO as a fruitful direction for future research.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 1122.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1122

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Keywords: Housing policy ; Poverty;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Dionissi Aliprantis, 2013. "Human capital in the inner city," Working Paper 1302, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  3. Dionissi Aliprantis, 2013. "Covariates and causal effects: the problem of context," Working Paper 1310, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  4. Dionissi Aliprantis, 2012. "Community-based well maintenance in rural Haiti," Working Paper 1201, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  5. 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, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 121-143, June.
  6. Dionissi Aliprantis & Daniel Carroll, 2012. "Neighborhood dynamics and the distribution of opportunity," Working Paper 1212, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  7. Thomas A. Garrett, 2011. "A Federal Reserve System conference on research in applied microeconomics," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 455-462.
  8. Dionissi Aliprantis & Francisca G.-C. Richter, 2012. "Local average neighborhood effects from moving to opportunity," Working Paper 1208, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

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