IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Slum Clearance and Urban Renewal in the United States


  • William J. Collins
  • Katharine L. Shester


We study the local effects of a federal program that helped cities clear areas for redevelopment, rehabilitate structures, complete city plans, and enforce building codes. We use an instrumental variable strategy to estimate the program's effects on city-level measures of income, property values, employment and poverty rates, and population. The estimated effects on income, property values, and population are positive and economically significant. They are not driven by changes in demographic composition. Estimated effects on poverty reduction and employment are positive but imprecise. The results are consistent with a model in which local productivity is enhanced. (JEL I32, N32, N92, R23, R38, R58)

Suggested Citation

  • William J. Collins & Katharine L. Shester, 2013. "Slum Clearance and Urban Renewal in the United States," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 239-273, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:5:y:2013:i:1:p:239-73 Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.5.1.239

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 69-85, Fall.
    2. Brueckner, Jan K. & Helsley, Robert W., 2011. "Sprawl and blight," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 205-213, March.
    3. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle, November.
    4. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Working Papers 834, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    5. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-529, October.
    6. Michael Greenstone & Richard Hornbeck & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "Identifying Agglomeration Spillovers: Evidence from Million Dollar Plants," Working Paper series 36_08, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    7. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2008. "The Economics of Place-Making Policies," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 155-253.
    8. Leah Platt Boustan, 2010. "Was Postwar Suburbanization "White Flight"? Evidence from the Black Migration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 417-443.
    9. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Pierre-Daniel Sarte & Raymond Owens, 2010. "Housing Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 485-535, June.
    10. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "Crime, Urban Flight, And The Consequences For Cities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 159-169, May.
    11. Nathaniel Baum-Snow, 2007. "Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 775-805.
    12. repec:fth:prinin:455 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Matthew Ranson & Lisa Tarquinio & Audrey Lew, 2016. "Modeling the Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Weather Losses," NCEE Working Paper Series 201602, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised May 2016.
    2. Xu, Hangtian, 2017. "Spatial Reorganization in Urban Redevelopment: Evidence from an Earthquake in a Metropolitan Area," MPRA Paper 78986, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:fip:fedpei:00020 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:6:p:1365-98 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Leah Platt Boustan & Robert A. Margo, 2011. "White Suburbanization and African-American Home Ownership, 1940-1980," NBER Working Papers 16702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Richard Hornbeck & Daniel Keniston, 2017. "Creative Destruction: Barriers to Urban Growth and the Great Boston Fire of 1872," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(6), pages 1365-1398, June.
    7. Leah Platt Boustan & Devin Bunten & Owen Hearey, 2013. "Urbanization in the United States, 1800-2000," NBER Working Papers 19041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Chen, Daniel L. & Yeh, Susan, 2016. "Government Expropriation Increases Economic Growth and Racial Inequality: Evidence from Eminent Domain," TSE Working Papers 16-693, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N92 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy


    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Slum Clearance and Urban Renewal in the United States (AEJ:AE 2013) in ReplicationWiki


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:5:y:2013:i:1:p:239-73. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.