The Children of Hope Vi Demolitions: National Evidence on Labor Market Outcomes
52 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2020 Last revised: 9 Jun 2022
Date Written: November 2020
We combine national administrative data on earnings and participation in subsidized housing to study how the demolition of 160 public housing projects—funded by the HOPE VI program—affected the adult labor market outcomes for 18,500 children. Our empirical strategy compares children exposed to the program to children drawn from thousands of non-demolished projects, adjusting for observable differences using a flexible estimator that combines features of matching and regression. We find that children who resided in HOPE VI projects earn 14% more at age 26 relative to children in comparable non-HOPE VI projects. These earnings gains are strongest for demolitions in large cities, particularly in neighborhoods with higher pre-demolition poverty rates and lower pre-demolition job accessibility. There is no evidence that the labor market gains are driven by improvements in household or neighborhood environments that promote human capital development in children. Rather, subsequent improvements in job accessibility represent a likely pathway for the results.
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