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Neighborhood Effects on Barriers to Employment: Results From a Randomized Housing Mobility Experiment in Baltimore

Author

Listed:
  • Susan Clampet-Lundquist

    (Princeton University)

  • Greg J. Duncan

    (Northwestern University)

  • Kathryn Edin

    (Univeristy of Pennsylvania)

  • Jeffrey R. Kling

    (The Brookings Institution and NBER)

  • Kristin Turney

    (Univeristy of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

The Moving To Opportunity randomized housing voucher demonstration finds virtually no significant effects on employment or earnings of adults. Using qualitative data from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 67 participants in Baltimore, we find that although the voucher and control groups have similar rates of employment and earnings, respondents' relationship to the labor market does differ by program group. Our analysis suggests that the voucher group did not experience employment or earnings gains in part because of human capital barriers that existed prior to moving to a low-poverty neighborhood. In addition, employed respondents in all groups were heavily concentrated in retail and health care jobs. To secure or maintain employment, they relied heavily on a particular job search strategy - informal referrals from similarly skilled and credentialed acquaintances who already held jobs in these sectors. Though experimentals were more likely to have employed neighbors, few of their neighbors held jobs in these sectors and could not provide such referrals. Thus controls had an easier time garnering such referrals. Additionally, the configuration of the metropolitan area's public transportation routes in relationship to the locations of hospitals, nursing homes, and malls posed additional transportation challenges to experimentals as they searched for employment - challenges controls were less likely to face.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan Clampet-Lundquist & Greg J. Duncan & Kathryn Edin & Jeffrey R. Kling & Kristin Turney, 2006. "Neighborhood Effects on Barriers to Employment: Results From a Randomized Housing Mobility Experiment in Baltimore," Working Papers 890, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:511
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Susan J. Popkin & James E. Rosenbaum & Patricia M. Meaden, 1993. "Labor market experiences of low-income black women in middle-class suburbs: Evidence from a survey of gautreaux program participants," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 556-573.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1994. "Investment in Human Capital: Effects on Earnings," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 29-58 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gary S. Becker, 1994. "Investment in Human Capital: Rates of Return," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 59-160 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," JCPR Working Papers 152, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    5. Meyer, Bruce D. & Rosenbaum, Dan T., 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and Its Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(4), pages 1027-1062, December.
    6. Gary S. Becker, 1994. "Age, Earnings, Wealth, and Human Capital," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 228-244 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. H. J. Holzer & S. Danziger, "undated". "Are Jobs Available for Disadvantaged Workers in Urban Areas?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1157-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    8. Ted Mouw, 2002. "Are black workers missing the connection? The effect of spatial distance and employee referrals on interfirm racial segregation," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(3), pages 507-528, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexandra M. Curley, 2010. "HOPE VI--a viable strategy for improving neighborhood conditions and resident self-sufficiency? The case of Maverick Gardens in Boston," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 237-294, March.
    2. Karen Chapple & Edward G. Goetz, 2011. "Spatial justice through regionalism? The inside game, the outside game, and the quest for the spatial fix in the United States," Community Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 458-475, October.
    3. Judith K. Hellerstein & Melissa McInerney & David Neumark, 2011. "Neighbors and Coworkers: The Importance of Residential Labor Market Networks," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 659-695.
    4. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2010. "Racial Inequality in the 21st Century: The Declining Significance of Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 16256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Quigley, John M. & Raphael, Steven, 2008. "Neighborhoods, Economic Self-Sufficiency, and the MTO Program," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt1nd2t0pw, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    neighborhood effects; social experiment; mixed methods; Baltimore; Maryland;

    JEL classification:

    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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