Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects
77 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2005 Last revised: 21 Aug 2010
Date Written: August 2005
Families, primarily female-headed minority households with children, living in high-poverty public housing projects in five U.S. cities were offered housing vouchers by lottery in the Moving to Opportunity program. Four to seven years after random assignment, families offered vouchers lived in safer neighborhoods that had lower poverty rates than those of the control group not offered vouchers. We find no significant overall effects of this intervention on adult economic self-sufficiency or physical health. Mental health benefits of the voucher offers for adults and for female youth were substantial. Beneficial effects for female youth on education, risky behavior, and physical health were offset by adverse effects for male youth. For outcomes exhibiting significant treatment effects, we find, using variation in treatment intensity across voucher types and cities, that the relationship between neighborhood poverty rate and outcomes is approximately linear.
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