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Housing Programs for Low-Income Households

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  • Edgar O. Olsen

Abstract

The primary purposes of this paper are to (1) consider the justifications that have been offered for housing subsidies to low-income households and the implications of these justifications for the evaluation and design of housing programs, (2) describe the most important features of the largest rental housing programs for low-income households in the United States, (3) summarize the empirical evidence on the major effects of these programs, and (4) analyze the major options for reform of the system of housing subsidies. The largest rental programs are HUD's Public Housing, Section 236, Section 8 New Construction/Substantial Rehab, Section 8 Existing, USDA's Section 515, and the IRS's Low Income Housing Tax Credit. The effects of these programs that will be considered include effects on the housing occupied by recipients of the subsidy and their consumption of other goods, effects on labor supply of assisted households, the distribution of benefits among recipients, participation rates among different types of households, effects on the types of neighborhoods in which subsidized households live and the effect of subsidized housing and households on their neighbors, the effect on prices of unsubsidized housing, and the cost-effectiveness of alternative methods for delivering housing assistance.

Suggested Citation

  • Edgar O. Olsen, 2001. "Housing Programs for Low-Income Households," NBER Working Papers 8208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8208
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    1. 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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    6. Friedman, Joseph H. & Weinberg, Daniel H., 1982. "The Economics of Housing Vouchers," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 1, number 9780122683602.
    7. Edgar O. Olsen, 2000. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative Methods of Delivering Housing Subsidies," Virginia Economics Online Papers 351, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
    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.
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    12. Crews Cutts, Amy & Olsen, Edgar O., 2002. "Are Section 8 housing subsidies too high?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 214-243, September.
    13. John Kraft & Edgar O. Olsen, 1977. "The Distribution of Benefits from Public Housing," NBER Chapters,in: The Distribution of Economic Well-Being, pages 51-70 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Steinberg Schone, Barbara, 1992. "Do means tested transfers reduce labor supply?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 353-357, November.
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    17. Murray, Michael P, 1975. "The Distribution of Tenant Benefits in Public Housing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(4), pages 771-788, July.
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