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Child Health and Neighborhood Conditions: Results from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment

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  • Jane G. Fortson
  • Lisa Sanbonmatsu

Abstract

Using data from the Moving to Opportunity randomized housing voucher experiment, we estimate the direct effects of housing and neighborhood quality on child health. We show that, five years after random assignment, housing mobility has little impact on overall health status, asthma, injuries, and body mass index. The few effects that we observe imply that being offered a voucher through the program might worsen some aspects of child health, despite significant improvements in housing quality, nutrition and exercise, and neighborhood safety. Our results are inconsistent with the hypothesis that neighborhood conditions explain much of the widely-cited income gradient in child health.

Suggested Citation

  • Jane G. Fortson & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2010. "Child Health and Neighborhood Conditions: Results from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 840-864.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:45:y:2010:i:4:p:840-864
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Christine Eibner & William N. Evans, 2005. "Relative Deprivation, Poor Health Habits, and Mortality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
    3. Howard S. Bloom, 1984. "Accounting for No-Shows in Experimental Evaluation Designs," Evaluation Review, , vol. 8(2), pages 225-246, April.
    4. Lisa Sanbonmatsu & Jeffrey R. Kling & Greg J. Duncan & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2006. "Neighborhoods and Academic Achievement: Results from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(4).
    5. Angela R. Fertig & David A. Reingold, 2007. "Public housing, health, and health behaviors: Is there a connection?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 831-860.
    6. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(1), pages 87-130.
    7. Cradock, Angie L. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Colditz, Graham A. & Gortmaker, Steven L. & Buka, Stephen L., 2009. "Neighborhood social cohesion and youth participation in physical activity in Chicago," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 427-435, February.
    8. Lawrence F. Katz & Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Moving to Opportunity in Boston: Early Results of a Randomized Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 607-654.
    9. repec:taf:houspd:v:15:y:2004:i:1:p:49-98 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
    11. Curtis, Lori J. & Dooley, Martin D. & Phipps, Shelley A., 2004. "Child well-being and neighbourhood quality: evidence from the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(10), pages 1917-1927, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ludwig, Jens & Duncan, Greg J. & Katz, Lawrence F. & Kessler, Ronald & Kling, Jeffrey R. & Gennetian, Lisa A. & Sanbonmatsu, Lisa, 2012. "Neighborhood Effects on the Long-Term Well-Being of Low-Income Adults," Scholarly Articles 11870359, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Jens Ludwig & Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2011. "Mechanism Experiments and Policy Evaluations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 17-38, Summer.
    3. Alexander, Diane & Currie, Janet, 2017. "Is it who you are or where you live? Residential segregation and racial gaps in childhood asthma," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 186-200.
    4. Jacob, Brian A. & Ludwig, Jens & Miller, Douglas L., 2013. "The effects of housing and neighborhood conditions on child mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 195-206.
    5. Elisabeth B├╝gelmayer & Daniel D. Schnitzlein, 2014. "Is It the Family or the Neighborhood?: Evidence from Sibling and Neighbor Correlations in Youth Education and Health," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 716, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Fan, Yingling & Chen, Qian, 2012. "Family functioning as a mediator between neighborhood conditions and children's health: Evidence from a national survey in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(12), pages 1939-1947.
    7. Schmidt, Nicole M. & Lincoln, Alisa K. & Nguyen, Quynh C. & Acevedo-Garcia, Dolores & Osypuk, Theresa L., 2014. "Examining mediators of housing mobility on adolescent asthma: Results from a housing voucher experiment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 136-144.
    8. Eriksen, Michael D. & Greenhalgh-Stanley, Nadia & Engelhardt, Gary V., 2015. "Home safety, accessibility, and elderly health: Evidence from falls," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 14-24.
    9. repec:hrv:faseco:33950779 is not listed on IDEAS

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