Low-Income Housing Development and Crime

Posted: 3 Aug 2011

See all articles by Matthew Freedman

Matthew Freedman

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics

Emily Greene Owens

Cornell University

Date Written: August 1, 2011

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of rental housing development subsidized by the federal government’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program on local crime. Under the LIHTC program, certain high-poverty census tracts receive Qualified Census Tract (QCT) status, which affects the size of the tax credits developers receive for building low-income housing. Changes in federal rules determining QCT status generate quasi-experimental variation in the location of LIHTC projects. Exploiting this variation, we find that low-income housing development in the poorest neighborhoods brings with it significant reductions in violent crime that are measurable at the county level. There are no detectable effects on property crime.

Keywords: Low-income housing, Crime, Gentrification, Tax credits

JEL Classification: K42, R23, R31, R51

Suggested Citation

Freedman, Matthew and Owens, Emily Greene, Low-Income Housing Development and Crime (August 1, 2011). Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 70, Nos. 2-3, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1903906

Matthew Freedman (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics ( email )

3151 Social Science Plaza
Irvine, CA 92697-5100
United States

Emily Greene Owens

Cornell University ( email )

120 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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