Life Shocks and Homelessness
AbstractWe exploit an exogenous health shock the birth of a child with a severe health condition to investigate the causal effect of a life shock on homelessness. Using survey data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study that have been augmented with information from hospital medical records, we find that the health shock increases the likelihood of homelessness three years later, particularly in cities with high housing costs. Homelessness is defined using both a traditional measure and a more contemporary measure that includes residential instability and doubling up without paying rent. The findings are consistent with the economic theory of homelessness, which posits that homelessness results from a conjunction of adverse circumstances in which housing markets and individual characteristics collide. They also add to a growing body of evidence that housing markets are an important contributor to homelessness and suggest that homelessness is a problem not easily addressed by existing public support programs.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. in its series Working Papers with number 1374.
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
child health; housing; homelessness; housing markets; families;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D19 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Other
- H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
- I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
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