Neighborhood Effects on Economic Self-Sufficiency: Evidence from a Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment
This paper examines whether residence within high-poverty urban neighborhoods affects individual economic outcomes. Our data are generated by a randomized housing-mobility experiment, with measures of economic self-sufficiency taken from state administrative records. We find that providing low-income families living in public housing units with private-market rental subsidies that can only be redeemed in very low-poverty neighborhoods reduces rates of welfare use by around 15 percent. Most of this reduction appears to be explained by differences in welfare-to-work transitions. We also find that providing families with unrestricted housing vouchers has little effect on economic outcomes beyond the first year. To download a Brookings Institution policy brief of this paper, please visit the Brookings Institution's site.
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