Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2016444
 


 



American Murder Mystery Revisited: Do Housing Voucher Households Cause Crime?


Ingrid Gould Ellen


New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Michael C Lens


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Katherine M. O'Regan


New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

December 14, 2011

NYU Wagner Research Paper No. 2012-02

Abstract:     
Potential neighbors often express worries that Housing Choice Voucher holders heighten crime. Yet no research systematically examines the link between the presence of voucher holders in a neighborhood and crime. Our paper aims to do just this, using longitudinal, neighborhood-level crime and voucher utilization data in 10 large U.S. cities. We test whether the presence of additional voucher holders leads to elevated rates of crime, controlling for neighborhood fixed effects, time-varying neighborhood characteristics, and trends in the broader sub-city area in which the neighborhood is located. In brief, crime tends to be higher in census tracts with more voucher households, but that positive relationship becomes insignificant after we control for unobserved differences across census tracts and falls further when we control for trends in the broader area. We find far more evidence for the reverse causal story; voucher use in a neighborhood increases in tracts with rising crime, suggesting that voucher holders tend to move into neighborhoods where crime rates are increasing.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

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Date posted: March 6, 2012 ; Last revised: March 8, 2012

Suggested Citation

Ellen, Ingrid Gould and Lens, Michael C and O'Regan, Katherine M., American Murder Mystery Revisited: Do Housing Voucher Households Cause Crime? (December 14, 2011). NYU Wagner Research Paper No. 2012-02. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2016444 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2016444

Contact Information

Ingrid Gould Ellen (Contact Author)
New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )
The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

Michael C Lens
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )
405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States
Katherine M. O'Regan
New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )
The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States
212-998-7498 (Phone)
212-995-3890 (Fax)

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