Does Municipally Subsidized Housing Improve School Quality? Evidence from New York City

Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 77, No. 2, pp. 127-141, 2011

NYU Wagner Research Paper No. 2716685

Posted: 16 Jan 2016

See all articles by Colin C. Chellman

Colin C. Chellman

CUNY Office of Policy Research

Ingrid Gould Ellen

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

Brian McCabe

New York University (NYU)

Amy Ellen Schwartz

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research; New York University (NYU) - Institute for Education and Social Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Leanna Stiefel

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

Date Written: January 16, 2016

Abstract

Problem: Policymakers and community development practitioners view increasing subsidized owner-occupied housing as a mechanism to improve urban neighborhoods, but little research studies the impact of such investments on community amenities.

Purpose: We examine the impact of subsidized owner-occupied housing on the quality of local schools and compare them to the impacts of city investments in rental units.

Methods: Using data from the New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), we estimate three main sets of regressions, exploring student characteristics, school resources, and school outcomes.

Results and conclusions: The completion of subsidized owner-occupied housing is associated with a decrease in schools’ percentage of free-lunch eligible students, an increase in schools’ percentage of White students, and, controlling for these compositional changes, an increase in scores on standardized reading and math exams. By contrast, our results suggest that investments in rental housing have little, if any, effect.

Takeaway for practice: Policies promoting the construction of subsidized owner-occupied housing have solidified in local governments around the country. Our research provides reassurance to policymakers and planners who are concerned about the spillover effects of subsidized, citywide investments beyond the households being directly served. It suggests that benefits from investments in owner occupancy may extend beyond the individual level, with an increase in subsidized owner-occupancy bringing about improvements in neighborhood school quality.

Suggested Citation

Chellman, Colin C. and Ellen, Ingrid Gould and McCabe, Brian and Schwartz, Amy Ellen and Schwartz, Amy Ellen and Stiefel, Leanna, Does Municipally Subsidized Housing Improve School Quality? Evidence from New York City (January 16, 2016). Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 77, No. 2, pp. 127-141, 2011, NYU Wagner Research Paper No. 2716685, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2716685

Colin C. Chellman

CUNY Office of Policy Research ( email )

555 West 57th St.
Suite 1240
New York, NY 10019
United States

Ingrid Gould Ellen

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

Brian McCabe

New York University (NYU) ( email )

295 Lafayette St.
4th Floor
New York, NY 10011
United States

Amy Ellen Schwartz (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Institute for Education and Social Policy ( email )

United States

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Leanna Stiefel

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

Public and Nonprofit Management and the Policy Pro
4 Washington Square North
New York, NY 10003
United States

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