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The Incidence of Housing Voucher Generosity

57 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2013 Last revised: 1 Jul 2016

Robert A. Collinson

New York University

Peter Ganong

Harvard University

Date Written: June 30, 2016


Most housing voucher recipients live in low-quality neighborhoods. We study how changes in voucher generosity affect neighborhood poverty, unit-quality and rents using administrative data. We examine a policy making vouchers more generous across a metro area. This policy had no impact on neighborhood poverty, little impact on observed quality, and increased rents. A second policy, which indexed rent ceilings to neighborhood rents, led voucher recipients to move to higher quality neighborhoods with lower crime, poverty and unemployment. These results are consistent with a model where the first policy acts as an income effect and the second as a substitution effect.

Keywords: Incidence, Vouchers, Housing, Neighborhoods

JEL Classification: H22, H53, R21, R31

Suggested Citation

Collinson, Robert A. and Ganong, Peter, The Incidence of Housing Voucher Generosity (June 30, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Robert A. Collinson

New York University ( email )

295 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012
United States

Peter Ganong (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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