Hurricane Katrina as an Experiment in Housing Mobility and Neighborhood Effects: Were the Relocated Poor Black Evacuees Better-Off?
Hurricane Katrina induced hundreds of thousands of New Orleans citizens to evacuate and relocate to different neighborhoods. Some of these evacuees moved to neighborhoods with poverty rates lower than the one they left in New Orleans. With survey data on a small sample of black Katrina evacuees who registered for absentee voter ballots, this paper explores whether or not there were improvements in the welfare of black evacuees—neighborhood effects—as a result of moving to neighborhoods with a lower poverty rate. With data from a small sample of relocated Katrina evacuees, we provide matching estimates of the short-run treatment effect of different types of changes in neighborhood poverty on five different measures of individual welfare. Treatment parameter estimates reveal—conditional upon the change in origin to destination neighborhood poverty rate—positive neighborhood effects mostly for black evacuees who did not move from high poverty to low poverty neighborhoods, but could have. Our results suggest that at least in the short-run, antipoverty policies based on housing mobility and changing the poverty characteristics of neighborhoods are not necessarily effective in improving the welfare of poor black households. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013
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Volume (Year): 40 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
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