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Homeless In America, Homeless In California

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  • John M. Quigley
  • Steven Raphael
  • Eugene Smolensky

Abstract

It is generally believed that the increased incidence of homelessness in the United States has arisen from broad societal factors, such as changes in the institutionalization of the mentally ill, increases in drug addiction and alcohol usage, and so forth. This paper presents a comprehensive test of the alternate hypothesis that variations in homelessness arise from changed circumstances in the housing market and in the income distribution. We assemble essentially all the systematic information available on homelessness in U.S. urban areas: census counts, shelter bed counts, records of transfer payments, and administrative agency estimates. We estimate similar statistical models using four different samples of data on the incidence of homelessness, defined according to very different criteria. Our results suggest that simple economic principles governing the availability and pricing of housing and the growth in demand for the lowest-quality housing explain a large portion of the variation in homelessness among U.S. metropolitan housing markets. Furthermore, rather modest improvements in the affordability of rental housing or its availability can substantially reduce the incidence of homelessness in the United States. 2000 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Suggested Citation

  • John M. Quigley & Steven Raphael & Eugene Smolensky, 2001. "Homeless In America, Homeless In California," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 37-51, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:83:y:2001:i:1:p:37-51
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    1. Mansur, Erin T. & Quigley, John M. & Raphael, Steven & Smolensky, Eugene, 2002. "Examining policies to reduce homelessness using a general equilibrium model of the housing market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 316-340, September.
    2. Honig, Marjorie & Filer, Randall K, 1993. "Causes of Intercity Variation in Homelessness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 248-255, March.
    3. Steven D. Levitt, 1996. "The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 319-351.
    4. Stuart A. Gabriel & Joe P. Mattey & William L. Wascher, 1999. "House price differentials and dynamics: evidence from the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 3-22.
    5. Early, Dirk W. & Olsen, Edgar O., 1998. "Rent control and homelessness," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 797-816, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kröll, Alexandra & Farhauer, Oliver, 2012. "Examining the roots of homelessness: The impact of regional housing market conditions and the social environment on homelessness in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 201213, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    2. Boehm, Thomas P. & Schlottmann, Alan M., 2004. "The dynamics of race, income, and homeownership," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 113-130, January.
    3. John Quigley & Steven Raphael, 2001. "The Economics Of Homelessness: The Evidence From North America," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(3), pages 323-336.
    4. Corinth, Kevin, 2017. "The impact of permanent supportive housing on homeless populations," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 69-84.
    5. Alexandra Kröll & Oliver Farhauer, 2012. "Examining the Roots of Homelessness - The Impact of Regional Housing Market Conditions and the Social Environment on Homelessness in Germany," ERSA conference papers ersa12p370, European Regional Science Association.
    6. O'Flaherty, Brendan, 2004. "Wrong person and wrong place: for homelessness, the conjunction is what matters," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-15, March.
    7. John M. Quigley & Steven Raphael, 2004. "Is Housing Unaffordable? Why Isn't It More Affordable?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 191-214, Winter.
    8. Glaeser, Edward L., 2014. "Understanding housing: The intellectual legacy of John Quigley," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 3-12.
    9. Zhang, Chuanchuan & Jia, Shen & Yang, Rudai, 2016. "Housing affordability and housing vacancy in China: The role of income inequality," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 4-14.
    10. Mansur, Erin T. & Quigley, John M. & Raphael, Steven & Smolensky, Eugene, 2002. "Examining policies to reduce homelessness using a general equilibrium model of the housing market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 316-340, September.
    11. Boehm, Thomas P. & Schlottmann, Alan, 2006. "A comparison of household mobility for owned manufactured, traditional owned, and rental units using the American Housing Survey," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 126-142, June.
    12. Lucia Corno, 2012. "Peer Effects on Criminal Behavior. Evidence from the homeless," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2012015, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    13. Allgood, Sam & Warren, Ronald Jr., 2003. "The duration of homelessness: evidence from a national survey," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 273-290, December.
    14. Early Dirk W. & Olsen Edgar O., 2002. "Subsidized Housing, Emergency Shelters, and Homelessness: An Empirical Investigation Using Data from the 1990 Census," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-36, August.
    15. Early, Dirk W., 2004. "The determinants of homelessness and the targeting of housing assistance," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 195-214, January.
    16. Early, Dirk W., 2005. "An empirical investigation of the determinants of street homelessness," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 27-47, March.
    17. Michela BRAGA & Lucia CORNO, 2009. "Being an homeless: evidence from Italy," Departmental Working Papers 2009-17, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    18. O'Flaherty, Brendan, 2003. "Need and generosity: how markets for free goods equilibrate," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 157-172, July.
    19. Alicia Sasser & Bo Zhao & Darcy Rollins & Robert Tannenwald, 2006. "The lack of affordable housing in New England: how big a problem?: why is it growing?: what are we doing about it?," New England Public Policy Center Working Paper 06-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    20. Alexandra Kröll & Oliver Farhauer, 2016. "Examining homelessness in Germany: The impact of regional housing market conditions on homelessness in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95, pages 51-69, March.
    21. Quigley, John M. & Raphael, Steven & Smolensky, Eugene, 2001. "Homelessness in California," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt2pg3f4ns, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
    22. Gundersen, Craig & Weinreb, Linda & Wehler, Cheryl & Hosmer, David, 2003. "Homelessness and food insecurity," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 250-272, September.
    23. Katherine Cuff & Nicolas Marceau, 2007. "Equilibrium Excess Demand in the Rental Housing Market (revised)," Cahiers de recherche 0744, CIRPEE.

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