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Youth Criminal Behavior in the Moving to Opportunity Experiment

  • Jeffrey R. Kling

    (Princeton University and NBER)

  • Jens Ludwig

    (Georgetown University)

  • Lawrence F. Katz

    (Harvard University and NBER)

The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) demonstration assigned housing vouchers via random lottery to low-income public housing residents in five cities. We use the exogenous variation in residential locations generated by the MTO demonstration to estimate the effects of neighborhoods on youth crime and delinquency. We find that the offer to relocate to lowerpoverty areas reduces the incidence of arrests among female youth for violent crimes and property crimes, and increases self-reported problem behaviors and property crime arrests for male youth -- relative to a control group. Female and male youth move through MTO into similar types of neighborhoods, so the gender difference in MTO treatment effects seems to reflect differences in responses to similar neighborhoods. Within-family analyses similarly show that brothers and sisters respond differentially to the same new neighborhood environments with more adverse effects for males. Males show some short-term improvements in delinquent behaviors from moves to lower-poverty areas, but these effects are reversed and gender differences in MTO treatment effects become pronounced by 3 to 4 years after random assignment.

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File URL: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01tq57nr02d
File Function: First version, 2004
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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 6.

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Date of creation: Mar 2004
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Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:482
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  1. Howard S. Bloom, 1984. "Accounting for No-Shows in Experimental Evaluation Designs," Evaluation Review, SAGE Publishing, vol. 8(2), pages 225-246, April.
  2. Ludwig, Jens, 1999. "Information and inner city educational attainment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 17-30, February.
  3. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-90, June.
  4. 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.
  5. Heckman, James, 2001. "Accounting for Heterogeneity, Diversity and General Equilibrium in Evaluating Social Programmes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(475), pages F654-99, November.
  6. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Steven D. Levitt, 2002. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effects of Police on Crime: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1244-1250, September.
  8. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
  9. Jens Ludwig & Greg J. Duncan & Paul Hirschfield, 2001. "Urban Poverty and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 655-679.
  10. Sah, Raaj K, 1991. "Social Osmosis and Patterns of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1272-95, December.
  11. Anderson, David A, 1999. "The Aggregate Burden of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 611-42, October.
  12. Laub, John H., 1981. "Ecological considerations in victim reporting to the police," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 9(6), pages 419-430.
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