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Neighborhood Effects on the Long-Term Well-Being of Low-Income Adults

  • Ludwig, Jens
  • Duncan, Greg J.
  • Katz, Lawrence F.
  • Kessler, Ronald
  • Kling, Jeffrey R.
  • Gennetian, Lisa A.
  • Sanbonmatsu, Lisa

Nearly 9 million Americans live in extreme-poverty neighborhoods, places that also tend to be racially segregated and dangerous. Yet, the effects on the well-being of residents of moving out of such communities into less distressed areas remain uncertain. Using data from Moving to Opportunity, a unique randomized housing mobility experiment, we found that moving from a high-poverty to lower-poverty neighborhood leads to long-term (10- to 15-year) improvements in adult physical and mental health and subjective well-being, despite not affecting economic self-sufficiency. A 1–standard deviation decline in neighborhood poverty (13 percentage points) increases subjective well-being by an amount equal to the gap in subjective well-being between people whose annual incomes differ by $13,000—a large amount given that the average control group income is $20,000. Subjective well-being is more strongly affected by changes in neighborhood economic disadvantage than racial segregation, which is important because racial segregation has been declining since 1970, but income segregation has been increasing.

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File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/11870359/19173177.pdf
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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 11870359.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Publication status: Published in Science
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:11870359
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Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/

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  1. Yonatan Ben-Shalom & Robert A. Moffitt & John Karl Scholz, 2011. "An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Anti-Poverty Programs in the United States," Mathematica Policy Research Reports cfc848ed6ab647bcb38ab47bb, Mathematica Policy Research.
  2. Oswald, Andrew J. & Wu, Stephen, 2010. "Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-being: Evidence from the USA," IZA Discussion Papers 4695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  4. Rivers, Douglas & Vuong, Quang H., 1988. "Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 347-366, November.
  5. Lisa Sanbonmatsu & Jeffrey R. Kling & Greg J. Duncan & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2006. "Neighborhoods and Academic Achievement: Results from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment," NBER Working Papers 11909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. E. Huebner, 2004. "Research on Assessment of Life Satisfaction of Children and Adolescents," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 66(1), pages 3-33, April.
  7. Duncan, Greg J. & Katz, Lawrence F. & Kessler, Ronald & Kling, Jeffrey R. & Gennetian, Lisa & Adam, Emma & Ludwig, Jens & Sanbonmatsu, Lisa & Tessler, Stacy & McDade, Thomas W. & Whitaker, Robert C., 2011. "Neighborhoods, Obesity and Diabetes –-- A Randomized Social Experiment," Scholarly Articles 8642951, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "The Long-Run Consequences of Living in a Poor Neighborhood," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt9np9p7m5, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  9. Judith D. Feins & Mark D. Shroder, 2005. "Moving to Opportunity: The Demonstration's Design and its Effects on Mobility," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 42(8), pages 1275-1299, July.
  10. 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.
  11. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2004. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," NBER Working Papers 10777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
  13. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," NBER Working Papers 11577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Tara Watson, 2009. "Inequality And The Measurement Of Residential Segregation By Income In American Neighborhoods," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(3), pages 820-844, 09.
  15. Jens Ludwig & Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Is Crime Contagious?," NBER Working Papers 12409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Michael P. Murray, 2006. "Avoiding Invalid Instruments and Coping with Weak Instruments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 111-132, Fall.
  17. Paul Dolan & Richard Layard & Robert Metcalfe, 2011. "Measuring Subjective Wellbeing for Public Policy: Recommendations on Measures," CEP Special Papers 23, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  18. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Katz, Lawrence & Duncan, Greg J. & Kling, Jeffrey R. & Kessler, Ronald C. & Ludwig, Jens & Sanbonmatsu, Lisa & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2008. "What Can We Learn about Neighborhood Effects from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment?," Scholarly Articles 2766959, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Happiness Inequality in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
  22. Sobel, Michael E., 2006. "What Do Randomized Studies of Housing Mobility Demonstrate?: Causal Inference in the Face of Interference," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 101, pages 1398-1407, December.
  23. Krueger, Alan B. & Schkade, David A., 2008. "The reliability of subjective well-being measures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1833-1845, August.
  24. van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1991. "Ordinal and cardinal utility : An integration of the two dimensions of the welfare concept," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 69-89, October.
  25. Shroder, Mark, 2002. "Locational Constraint, Housing Counseling, and Successful Lease-up in a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 315-338, March.
  26. repec:mpr:mprres:7081 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. 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.
  28. Fuller, Wayne A, 1977. "Some Properties of a Modification of the Limited Information Estimator," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(4), pages 939-53, May.
  29. Stefanie DeLuca & Greg J. Duncan & Micere Keels & Ruby M. Mendenhall, 2010. "Gautreaux mothers and their children: an update," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 7-25, January.
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