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Does Urban Public Housing Diminish the Social Capital and Labor Force Activity of Its Tenants?


  • David A. Reingold

    (School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University)

  • Gregg G. Van Ryzin

    (School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, City University of New York)

  • Michelle Ronda

    (Graduate Center, City University of New York)


This paper investigates the effect of urban public housing on the social capital and labor force activity of its tenants using cross-sectional survey data from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality (MSCUI). A structural equation model of the hypothesized direct and indirect effects of public housing and neighborhood disadvantage on social capital and labor force activity is specified and fitted to these data. The modeling results suggest that urban public housing is strongly associated with neighborhood disadvantage but has little or no direct effect on either social capital or labor force activity. And while public housing may have indirect effects on social capital and labor force activity through neighborhood poverty, these indirect effects appear to be small. These findings have implications for the current emphasis in urban public housing policy on moving residents into the private housing market and reducing poverty concentration. © 2001 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • David A. Reingold & Gregg G. Van Ryzin & Michelle Ronda, 2001. "Does Urban Public Housing Diminish the Social Capital and Labor Force Activity of Its Tenants?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(3), pages 485-504.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:20:y:2001:i:3:p:485-504
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.1004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Janet Currie & Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1998. "Public Housing and Labor Supply," JCPR Working Papers 52, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    2. Currie, Janet & Yelowitz, Aaron, 2000. "Are public housing projects good for kids?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 99-124, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Harkness, Joseph & Newman, Sandra, 2003. "The interactive effects of housing assistance and food stamps on food spending," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 224-249, September.
    2. Florence Goffette-Nagot & Modibo Sidibé, 2011. "Housing Wealth Accumulation: The Role of Public Housing," Post-Print halshs-00673746, HAL.
    3. Goffette-Nagot, Florence & Sidibé, Modibo, 2016. "Housing wealth accumulation: The role of public housing," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 12-22.
    4. 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.
    5. Brian A. Jacob, 2004. "Public Housing, Housing Vouchers, and Student Achievement: Evidence from Public Housing Demolitions in Chicago," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 233-258, March.
    6. Hanson, Andrew R. & Hawley, Zackary & Turnbull, Geoffrey, 2018. "The value of community: Evidence from the CARES program," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 218-226.
    7. David Brady, 2004. "The Welfare State and Relative Poverty in Rich Western Democracies, 1967-1997," LIS Working papers 390, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

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